The National Center for Prevention of Disasters has issued a yellow alert over an increase in volcanic activity at the Popocatepetl volcano. The volcano reportedly emitted a plume of smoke reaching 2 500 m (8200 ft) between December 15-16, followed by two minor earthquakes. While no evacuation orders have been issued, residents in nearby areas, notably in the capital Mexico city, as well as in Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala states have been encouraged to protect themselves against potential toxic fumes and volcanic ash.
Mexico is home to several active volcanoes. Popocatepetl is considered a relatively active volcano; in April 2016, the volcano erupted 40 times in 24 hours.
Yellow alerts - indicating increased volcanic activity - are the second highest alert level for volcanic activity after red (which indicates an imminent eruption).
Individuals present in affected areas are advised to keep abreast of the situation, to follow any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. potential evacuation orders), and to take the certain precautions, such as stocking up on drinking water, wearing respiratory masks, and wearing covering clothing to protect skin from abrasive ash.
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