Guatemala volcano erupts, killing at least 7 and blanketing villages in ash
04 June, 2018, 08:21 | Author: Diane Mills
The volcano spewed black smoke and ash into the sky, prompting the evacuation of some 100 people and forcing the capital's La Aurora worldwide airport to shut down its only runway. Video images published by Sacatepezuez television showed a charred landscape where a lava flow came into contact with homes.
The number of people killed by the powerful eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala increased to 25, Guatemala's disaster agency reported, while the number of injured people has risen to some 300.
Amid darkness and rain, the rescue effort was suspended until early morning, municipal firefighters' spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.
Volcanic ash covers parked motorcycles, brought by the Fuego Volcano, in Antigua Guatemala.
"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez said. "This is an very bad place to be, if you are ever around an erupting volcano like this and you see a cloud moving along the ground towards you, RUN".
It was the 3,763-meter (12,346-feet) volcano's second eruption this year.
Guatemala has two other active volcanoes, Santiaguito in the west and Pacaya, just south of the capital. Another victim was found in the street by volunteer firefighters but died in an ambulance.
"It is important to remain calm because the Fuego volcano erupts throughout the year", said David de Leon, spokesman for the National Disaster Prevention Authority. Shelters were opened for those forced to flee.
Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales said a national emergency is underway. "Evacuations and searches are under way", he said, quoted by Reuters.
Three bodies lay partially buried in ash-colored debris from the volcano, which lies about 27 miles (44 kilometers) from Guatemala City.
The Directorate of Civil Aeronautics announced that La Aurora International Airport was closed because of the danger posed to planes by the ash.
The volcano is some 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, which is popular with tourists and is known for its coffee plantations.
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