- The National Civil Protection System activated phase 3 of the yellow alert due to the continuous exhalations from the Popocatépetl volcano.
- Due to the risks it represents to health, infants, older adults or people with respiratory diseases should avoid exposing themselves to ash.
- Due to the possible fall of volcanic ash, an alert was activated in all IMSS hospitals and medical units located in Puebla, State of Mexico, Morelos, Tlaxcala and Mexico City.
During the last days the intense activity of the Popocatépetl volcano has been in the news. Even for several hours on May 20, the Mexico City International Airport (AICM) had to cancel its activities and stop all flights. The volcanic ash impaired the vision of the aircraft and this decision was made to prevent accidents.
For his part, he National Civil Protection System activated phase 3 of the yellow alert due to the continuous exhalations of the volcano. With this, all schools in Puebla canceled face-to-face classes and now education will be online. In addition, the following scenarios are expected to occur, although without causing damage to human lives.
- Light to moderate explosions with fragments being thrown around the crater of the volcano.
- Ash rains in the surrounding towns.
- Growth of the dome and possible expulsion of magma.
- Explosions of increasing intensity that could launch fragments considerable distances.
IMSS activates emergency protocol
In addition to all of the above, today the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) announced that the alert was activated in its hospitals and medical units located in Puebla, State of Mexico, Morelos, Tlaxcala and Mexico City.
are activated #protocols alert in hospitals and medical units of the #IMSS in #Puebla, #EdoMex, #Morelos, #Tlaxcala and #CDMX due to the alert phase of the volcano #popocatepetl. pic.twitter.com/wFZR91sb6V
— IMSS (@Your_IMSS) May 22, 2023
In parallel, the Ministry of Health (SSa) recommends that the population of the central region of the country not be exposed to the volcanic ash present due to the increase in activity of Popocatépetl.
The federal agency emphasizes the call to the inhabitants of the region to keep an eye on the information issued by the authorities and not believe or spread rumors. Even though the increase in volcanic activity does not necessarily mean that there will be an eruption, it is essential —for the health and safety of people— to have official information.
Likewise, it warns about the risks posed by the recent exhalations of Popocatépetl:
Fresh volcanic ash can be harsh, acidic, gritty, glassy, smelly, and downright disgusting. Although the gases are normally too dilute and are not a danger to a healthy person, the combination of acid gases and ash can be present for kilometers from the eruption and cause lung damage to children, the elderly and the sick, including those suffer from severe respiratory diseases.
This acidic coating washes off easily in rain, but it can wash away and contaminate local water supplies. Acid ash can also damage vegetation and crops in the region.
Given the health scenario described, the SSa issues recommendations for people to protect their health:
- Girls, boys, as well as older people and people with respiratory diseases should avoid contact with the ash.
- Avoid doing outdoor activities.
- Protect eyes, nose and mouth; In case you have to go out in the open, use a handkerchief or face mask.
- Wear protective glasses and clothing when going outside, since ash affects visibility and damages the skin. Preferably not wear contact lenses.
- Wash eyes with plenty of water if you have been exposed to ash and have a foreign body sensation in your eyes.
- Close doors and windows and seal cracks and vents with damp cloths to limit the entry of dust into houses and buildings.
To reduce risk margins, as well as protect property, furniture and real estate, the SSa recommends:
- Shake off the ash with feather dusters so that the surfaces are not scratched.
- Cover water tanks and other water tanks so that they are not contaminated.
- Cover appliances, equipment and automobiles so they do not deteriorate or scratch.
- Continuously remove ashes, to prevent them from accumulating on light roofs, as they can cause them to fall due to excess weight.
- Collect in sacks or plastic bags the ashes that accumulate on the roofs, floors and streets so that the drainage does not clog. These should not be cleaned with water for the same reason.
- Cover patio and roof drains to prevent drainage from clogging.
- Avoid the use of cars, since the ash reduces visibility and makes the pavement slippery. In case of using it, be cautious and patient, because the traffic can slow down when the floor becomes slippery.
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