World

Ecuador's president declares state of emergency as volcano belches ash not far from capital

  • A view of Cotopaxi volcano spewing ashes as seen from Latacunga, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015.  The Cotopaxi volcano near Ecuador's capital has spewed ash over a wide area in pre-dawn blasts. The volcano is considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes due to a glacial cover that makes it prone to mud flows and its proximity to a heavily populated area, but government scientists say that the snow-capped volcano doesn't seem to be on the verge of a major eruption. Its last major eruption was in 1877. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

    A view of Cotopaxi volcano spewing ashes as seen from Latacunga, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The Cotopaxi volcano near Ecuador's capital has spewed ash over a wide area in pre-dawn blasts. The volcano is considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes due to a glacial cover that makes it prone to mud flows and its proximity to a heavily populated area, but government scientists say that the snow-capped volcano doesn't seem to be on the verge of a major eruption. Its last major eruption was in 1877. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)  (The Associated Press)

  • A village leader tries to quell fears of Santa Rita residents who set up camp alongside a road after a self-imposed evacuation from their homes, fearing a volcanic landslide from the nearby Cotopaxi volcano, pictured in background, in El Chasqui, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Four blasts inside the volcano sent ash shooting into the sky Friday, coating highways, homes and cars just south of Ecuador's capital with a fine gray powder. Cotopaxi is considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes due to a glacial cover that makes it prone to fast-moving volcanic rock and mud flows, or lahares, and its proximity to a heavily populated area. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

    A village leader tries to quell fears of Santa Rita residents who set up camp alongside a road after a self-imposed evacuation from their homes, fearing a volcanic landslide from the nearby Cotopaxi volcano, pictured in background, in El Chasqui, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Four blasts inside the volcano sent ash shooting into the sky Friday, coating highways, homes and cars just south of Ecuador's capital with a fine gray powder. Cotopaxi is considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes due to a glacial cover that makes it prone to fast-moving volcanic rock and mud flows, or lahares, and its proximity to a heavily populated area. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)  (The Associated Press)

  • A boy rests on a pile of his family's belongings while they set up camp alongside a road after evacuating their homes fearing a volcanic landslide from the nearby Cotopaxi volcano, pictured in background, which has blanketed nearby villages in ash, in El Chasqui, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Four blasts inside the volcano sent ash shooting more than two miles in the sky Friday, coating highways, homes and cars just south of Ecuador's capital with a fine gray powder. Cotopaxi is considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes due to a glacial cover that makes it prone to fast-moving volcanic rock and mud flows, or lahares, and its proximity to a heavily populated area. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

    A boy rests on a pile of his family's belongings while they set up camp alongside a road after evacuating their homes fearing a volcanic landslide from the nearby Cotopaxi volcano, pictured in background, which has blanketed nearby villages in ash, in El Chasqui, Ecuador, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. Four blasts inside the volcano sent ash shooting more than two miles in the sky Friday, coating highways, homes and cars just south of Ecuador's capital with a fine gray powder. Cotopaxi is considered one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes due to a glacial cover that makes it prone to fast-moving volcanic rock and mud flows, or lahares, and its proximity to a heavily populated area. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)  (The Associated Press)

Ecuador's president has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity in the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital of Quito.

Saturday's decree by President Rafael Correa gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to deal with any problems.

Eruptions beginning Friday have shot ash more than two miles (five kilometers) into the sky, spreading fine gray powder over roads, homes and cars in the region as far as the capital 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the north.

Presidential legal secretary Alexis Mera says further ash explosions and some pyroclastic flows on the volcano's western slopes Saturday led officials to evacuate some nearby villages.