Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Volcanic eruptions in Guatemala displace thousands

Volcanic eruptions in Guatemala displace thousands

Fuego is one of Central America's most active volcanos.

The Volcan de Fuego, or "volcano of fire", exploded in a hail of ash and molten rock Sunday, blanketing nearby villages in heavy ash and sending lava flows down the mountain's flank. Streets and houses were covered in the colonial town of Antigua.

CONRED (the Guatemalan government agency for natural disaster reduction) has reported that more than 3,000 people have been evacuated and more than 1.7 million have been affected by the eruption. Pyroclastic flows have been known to reach speeds of up to 437mph, nearly as fast as commercial jetliners.

An estimated 25 people, including at least three children, have been killed and almost 300 injured in the most violent eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano in more than four decades. The eruption killed at least 25 people and injured many more.

Rescue workers pulled at least 10 people alive from ash and mud flows around Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego on Monday.

Dramatic footage shows a woman emerging from the ashes of Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego saying that while she managed to escape, her entire family and neighbors were likely wiped out by a rogue lava flow. It's an example of one of the tallest and most violent types of volcanoes in the world, its steep sides made out of accumulated layers of lava and ash.

"Video images published by Sacatepezuez television showed a charred landscape where a lava flow came into contact with homes". Three bodies lay partially buried in ash-coloured debris from the volcano, which lies about 44 kilometres from Guatemala City. A search was underway for the missing, though first responders efforts were hindered by the lava flow, officials said.

The capital's worldwide airport has also been closed due to the danger the ash poses to planes.

Guatemala Volcano
The Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire continues to spill out smoke and ash as residents evacuate from Escuintla

Another 15 people have been hospitalized, including 12 children - some of whom suffered severe burns, the health ministry said.

Conred spokesman David de Leon said the volcano first erupted around midday Sunday, billowing smoke and ash miles into the sky. Some ash also has fallen on the capital.

It is the second time the volcano has erupted this year, setting off loud explosions and spewing ash almost four miles into the sky.

The volcanic eruption spewed a river of red, hot lava and belched thick clouds of smoke almost six miles into the air, according to the CONRED, the government's national coordinator for disaster reduction.

The Foreign Office has told Britons visiting and living near the capital, the city of Antigua and areas near the volcano to keep up to date with local officials' advice.

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