Growing Cotopaxi volcano threat prompts emergency drill for today

Jun 19, 2015

Ecuador’s Secretariat of Risk Management has announced that the first drill to prepare for a possible Cotopaxi volcano eruption has been scheduled for Friday. The drill will test the coordination and preparedness of various government agencies and private organizations.

Cotopaxi releasing gas emissions on Thursday.

Cotopaxi releasing gas emissions on Thursday.

Raul Ortiz, risk management director, said that the training will test government agencies ability to respond in the case of an eruption. “We need to check to make sure that public as well as private institutions that would be involved in evacuations and rescues are ready if the need arises,” he said. “This is a drill but it is essential for making sure we are ready in case of an emergency.”

The drill, which will be preceded by a meeting, will be conducted at the Cotopaxi International Airport in Latacunga. Officials expect 24 institutions to participate in the drill.

Ecuador Geophysical Institute reported that activity at Cotopaxi on Thursday was classified as “moderate,” which prompted a level white alert, the third most serious. The institute said that poor weather conditions prevented technicians from taking measurements at the volcano’s summit. They reported, however, that more than 95 earthquakes were observed at the base of the volcano on Wednesday and Thursday.