Guatemala's Fuego Volcano Erupts, Killing at Least 38, and Injuring Hundreds as Pyroclastic Flows Sweep Through Villages


June 4, 2018

At least 38 people were killed, including three children, and hundreds injured when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted violently on Sunday.





Volcan de Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanos, spewed a stream of red hot lava and belched a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions.

The charred bodies of victims lay on the steaming, ashen remnants of a what is known as a "pyroclastic flow" as rescuers attended to badly injured victims.

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the Rodeo village. There are injured, burned and dead people," Sergio Cabanas, the general secretary of Guatemala's Conred disaster agency, said on radio.

Guatemala's disaster agency said 3,100 people had evacuated nearby communities, and the eruption was affecting an area with a population of about 1.7 million people.

"The toll was 25 dead as of 9pm," the spokesman for Conred said.  Officials said nearly 300 people had been injured. It was later revised up to 38, with the numbers likely to rise.

Shelters were opened for those forced to flee.

"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," said Mr Cabanas.

An ash-covered woman said lava poured through corn fields and she feared more had died.

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried," Consuelo Hernandez told local news outlet Diario de Centroamerica in a video.

One British tourist said he felt "fortunate" to have escaped harm after climbing the neighbouring peak the day before .

Richard Fitz-Hugh, a backpacker from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, spoke to the Press Association from ash-covered Antigua, around 11 miles from the erupting volcano.



President Jimmy Morales said he had convened his ministers and was considering declaring a state of emergency in the departments of Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepequez.

Steaming lava flowed down the streets of the village of El Rodeo as emergency crews entered homes in search of trapped residents, a video on a different local media outlet showed.

"Currently the volcano continues to erupt and there exists a high potential for (pyroclastic) avalanches of debris," the disaster agency said via Twitter, quoting Sanchez, the director of the seismology and volcanology institute.

The eruption forced the Guatemala City's La Aurora international airport to shut down its only runway due to the presence of volcanic ash and to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a Tweet.

The volcano is located 25 miles  southwest of the capital Guatemala City and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, popular with tourists and known for its coffee plantations.

Workers and guests were evacuated from the La Reunion golf club near Antigua. Video footage showed a black cloud of ash rising from just beyond the golf club. The lava river was running on the other side of the volcano.

"Temperatures in the pyroclastic flow can exceed 700 degrees (Celsius) and volcanic ash can rain down on a 15 kilometer (9.32 miles) radius. That could cause more mud flows and nearby rivers to burst their banks," said Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute.


Keep Reading...


Previous Post Next Post

  • Blue Monster Prep