25 killed in in Guatemala volcano eruption, 1.7m affected

05 June, 2018, 09:31 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • At least 6 killed, 20 hurt by erupting volcano in Guatemala

Neighbors stand outside a temporary resting place for the dead near Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire in Alotenango, Guatemala, Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Yesterday's eruption is the deadliest that Guatemala has experienced since 1902, when the country's Santa María volcano killed thousands of people, according to the BBC.

At least 25 people, including at least three children, have died after the most violent volcanic eruption in Guatemala in more than a century, authorities said.

The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction in Guatemala said Sunday that fiery clouds of smoke were billowing from the Volcan del Fuego and that soot blanketed cars and houses in the nearby villages of San Pedro Yepocapa and Sangre de Cristo. Lava began flowing down the mountain's flank and across homes and roads around 4 p.m.

Dramatic video showed a fast-moving lahar, or flow of pyroclastic material and slurry, slamming into and partly destroying a bridge on a road between Sacatepequez and Escuintla.

The volcano, which sits less than 50 kilometres from the capital Guatemala City, and is on the Pacific Ring of Fire, has been erupting since 2002, according to the Global Volcanism Program.

One video published by news outlet Telediario, purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village, showed three bodies strewn atop the remnants of the flow as rescuers arrived to attend to an elderly man caked from head to toe in ash and mud.

"Not everyone was able to get out. I think they ended up buried", Consuelo Hernandez, a resident of the village of El Rodeo, told Diario de Centroamerica.

"Where we saw the lava fall, we ran to a hillside" to escape, she added.

After evacuating the town of El Rodeo with his family, he returned to search for his son and daughter-in-law.


Hundreds of rescue workers, including firefighters, police and soldiers, worked to help any survivors and recover any more bodies amid the still-smoking lava.

David de Leon, spokesman for the disaster agency, said authorities had already evacuated about 300 people from nearby areas.

Rescue operations had been suspended until Monday morning due to inclement weather and unsafe conditions.

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the El Rodeo village", Sergio Cabanas of Guatemala's national disaster management agency had said. The remaining dead were found in El Rodeo and Alotenango, where a makeshift morgue was set up.

More than 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption of Guatemala's Volcano of Fire.

It was the 3,763-meter (12,346-feet) volcano's second eruption this year.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he would issue a declaration of a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials.

Ash fell on the Guatemala City area as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla.

Israel's ties with Guatemala were significantly upgraded last month when the central American country became the second country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, two days after the U.S. inaugurated its own embassy in the city, answering a longstanding Israeli demand for recognition of the city as their capital. Some ash reached the capital of Guatemala City about 25 miles away, forcing the closure of its worldwide airport.

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