As a result of a volcanic eruption in the Amazon forest in Ecuador, several nearby cities were buried under the ashes. This raises additional public health concerns as the South American country continues to battle coronavirus.
Last year, the Sangay volcano experienced several lighter eruptions. Due to the remoteness of the volcano, the consequences were hardly noticeable.
Now that the wind direction has changed, however, the axis blows towards the coast and cities such as the large city of Guayaquil are affected. The Geophysical Institute of Ecuador expects even more minor eruptions in the coming days.
Guayaquil Airport stops flights to clear the runway, and authorities have started removing the ashes in public places to avoid potential respiratory problems in the population. In some parts of the provinces of Los Rios and Chimborazo, roads were closed to traffic.
“Now we have to wear a mask not only because of the coronavirus but also because the aches are in all of Guayaquil,” a resident told Reuters.
The city was particularly hard hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus in March and April. The local health facilities were unable to cope with a large number of patients, and the authorities had to collect the bodies of deceased patients in the houses.
The Ministry of Health announced this month that the spread of the virus has decreased markedly and that the number of deaths is now less than ten per day. At the height of the epidemic, 194 people per day died of Covid-19 in Ecuador.