Ecuador declares state of emergency following activity from Cotopaxi volcano

President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency Credit: Reuters

Ecuador has declared a state of emergency following increased activity from the its Cotopaxi volcano.

President Rafael Correa made the announcement in a weekly address on Saturday, a day after two small explosions on Cotopaxi.

The move will allow Mr Correa to mobilise security forces throughout the country and give him greater leeway to use financial resources in the event an eruption.

"We declare a state of emergency due to the unusual activity of Mount Cotopaxi," Mr Correa said.

The two explosions on Friday, as well as an expulsion of ash, surprised nearby resident Credit: PA

The president said that about 400 people had been voluntarily relocated to shelters as a precautionary measure.

The two explosions on Friday, as well as an expulsion of ash, surprised nearby residents, but authorities stressed the activity did not mean the volcano was about to erupt.

Nonetheless, the environment ministry has closed the Cotopaxi National Park as a precaution.

Cotopaxi is one of the world's highest active volcanoes and is popular with tourists. It last erupted in 1940.