While our work continues assisting farmers and their livestock in drought-stricken regions of northern Mexico, we have also been monitoring an area of the country that is under threat of a possible volcanic eruption.
The Popocatépetl volcano, located approximately 45 miles (72 km) southeast of Mexico City, has been particularly active over the past two weeks. It is currently rated as a yellow alert, and we are closely monitoring any increase in activity or escalation of the alert level.
A remote assessment was recently conducted by our disaster response staff in the Costa Rica office, and we are moving forward quickly to implement their recommendations. Our planned interventions include broadcasting disaster preparedness PSAs on local radio, providing prevention messages and advising people to include animals into their emergencies plan.
We are also deploying our Mexican Veterinary Emergency Response Unit (VERU) leader to the areas most at risk in order to collect information on preparedness of animal owners as well as the logistics and security considerations involved in the sheltering and evacuation of animals in the event of a major eruption of the volcano.
There are about 430 animal owners and an average of 7,500 animals (livestock and companion animals) at risk in the most vulnerable communities of Santiago Xalitzintla, San Nicolas de los Ranchos and San Pedro Cholula which could be affected in the event of a major explosion. Therefore, we are working hard to ensure that these local communities are prepared to cope should disaster strike.