Ecuador declares volcano emergency

Last updated at 12:09
A general view from Saquisili village, of an ashes column spewed by the Cotopaxi volcano in Pichincha province, Ecuador, 15 August 2015.EPA

Eruptions at the Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador have sent plumes of ash and smoke two miles into the sky.

The eruptions have spread fine grey powder as far as the capital city 30 miles to the north of the volcano.

Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa, has now declared a state of emergency.

Evacuated inhabitants of Santa Rita town in Cotopaxi province look on at the rumbling volcano on SaturdayEPA
Evacuated residents looked on from a safe distance as the volcano spewed ash

It's one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes and can cause fast-moving rock and mud flows.

Hundreds of people from villages near to Cotopaxi have been forced to leave their homes.

Residents of El Pedregal village evacuate on Saturday after Cotopaxi volcano increased its activityAFP
Residents left the zone around the volcano and soldiers were on the streets to help

Officials have restricted access to the park that surrounds the volcano and stopped mountaineers from climbing the snow-capped peak.

Cotopaxi last had a major eruption in 1877.