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Guatemala Volcano Update – Fuego Volcano Erupts

Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted for the second time this year. Guatemala Volcano Update – Fuego Volcano Erupts. It kills at least 25 people and leaving dazed residents covered in ash as they searched for loved ones.

Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano Erupts
Guatemala Volcano Update – Fuego Volcano Erupts
The volcanic eruption Sunday spewed a river of red, hot lava and belched thick clouds of smoke nearly six miles into the air, according to the CONRED, the government agency for disaster reduction. In addition to the fatalities, 20 others were injured, it said.
Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales declared three days of national mourning. Survivors described the horror and destruction during the eruption.
“Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried,” Survivor Consuelo Hernandez said. “We saw the lava was pouring through the corn fields and we ran towards a hill.”
Hernandez told officials from the disaster agency that some of her relatives were buried.
Some firefighters wept as they left the scene.

Immediate Evacuation

Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano EruptsResidents living near the volcano were urged to evacuate immediately, and some in the states of Chimaltenango, Sacatepequez and Escuintla were warned to watch out for volcanic rocks and ash.
More than 3,100 people have been evacuated while search and rescue efforts continue into the night, said Sergio García Cabañas, director of the agency. The explosion will affect 1.7 million people.
At least 15 people have been hospitalized, including 12 children, some of whom suffered severe burns, the health ministry said.
The eruption officially ended late Sunday, according to Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology.
Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano Erupts
Guatemala Volcano Update – Fuego Volcano Erupts
“The eruption … is reaching its end with 14.763 feet of ash and weak to moderate explosions and incandescence in its crater,” it said in a statement.
But it warned there could be new eruptions, and residents in the surrounding areas should be on alert to lahars and mudslides containing volcanic material. Volcanic ash had spread in a 12-mile radius around the volcano and winds could carry the cloud even farther, officials said.

Twenty-five people have been killed and hundreds injured in the most violent eruption in decades in Guatemala.

The Fuego volcano, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, has been spewing rocks, black smoke, and ash into the sky.

A flow of lava hit the village of El Rodeo, killing people inside houses. The main airport in the capital, Guatemala City, has been closed.

President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning.

Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano Erupts

In a statement issued late on Sunday, he spoke of the nation’s “deep pain” caused by the “irreparable losses” in human lives.

Sergio Cabañas, head of the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), told a local radio station that a lava stream had changed course towards El Rodeo.

“Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven’t been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too.”

Guatemala is situated on the “Ring of Fire,” an area of intense seismic activity.
Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano Erupts
The 40,000-kilometer (25,000-mile) area stretches from the boundary of the Pacific Plate and the smaller plates such as the Philippine Sea plate to the Cocos and Nazca Plates that line the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Volcan de Fuego, whose name means fire, is one of Central America’s most active.
It is near the colonial city of Antigua. Sunday’s explosion rained soot over the popular tourist destination and other villages in the Sacatepéquez state, covering them in ash.
Villages south of the volcano in the Escuintla department were affected, too, Cabañas said. Lesser amounts of ash reached the capital of Guatemala City about 25 miles away, forcing the closure of its international airport. The Guatemalan army shared images of officers clearing the runway with push brooms.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed condolences and offered assistance.
“All our solidarity and support to President Jimmy Morales and the Guatemalan people for the loss of human life after the eruption of the volcano of Fire.”

This eruption is the biggest since 1974, according to local experts.

Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano Erupts

Mr. Cabañas later said the dead included a member of his agency’s staff.

Several children are among those confirmed dead.

Videos published by local media show bodies lying on top of a lava flow and rescuers attending to people covered in ash.

Officials have advised people to wear masks as protection against falling ash in four of Guatemala’s regions.

Guatemala Volcano Update - Fuego Volcano Erupts

The military is providing assistance, from rescue operations to setting up temporary shelters and clearing volcanic ash from the runway at Guatemala City’s La Aurora airport.

The President of El Salvador offered his condolences via Twitter and said he his country stood ready to assist its neighbor.
Israel’s Ambassador to Guatemala and the Mayor of Puerto Rico also expressed their solidarity.
Source: edition.cnn.com, bbc.com, maps.google.com
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