'Volcano of Fire' Sends River of Lava Into Villages

04 June, 2018, 14:11 | Author: Donnie King
  • The Fuego volcano erupted for the second time this year in Guatemala

Rescue operations were suspended as of nightfall because conditions were too unsafe to continue, officials said.

Richard Fitz-Hugh, a backpacker from Beaconsfield, Bucks, had climbed a neighbouring peak to watch the active Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) in Guatemala, just hours before it erupted. By 4 p.m. local time, lava began flowing down the mountain's side, according to The Associated Press.

Eddy Sanchez, director of the country's seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows reached temperatures of about 700 C.

The charred bodies of victims laid on the steaming, ashen remnants of a pyroclastic flow as rescuers attended to badly injured victims in the aftermath of the eruption.

The eruption, the strongest recorded in several years, is now affecting the municipalities of Antigua Guatemala, Alotenango, San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Santa Catarina Barahona, Ciudad Vieja, San Miguel Dueñas, Acatenango, San Andres Itzapa, Patzicia, Saragoza, Patzún and Tecpán Guatemala.

"Not everyone was able to get out".

Richard added: "We knew it was active, it's all part of the experience, you go up and see the lava, that's the point of climbing Acatenango".

One woman told the Diario de Centroamerica that lava had poured through corn fields and she thought more people may have died.




Rescue operations were suspended due to unsafe conditions and bad weather, said Cecilio Chacaj, a spokesman for the municipal firefighters department.

The eruption sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees grey and blanketing streets, cars and people.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defence staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.

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.

According to the country's disaster agency, 3100 people had been evacuated from nearby communities, as falling ash continues to affect an area with a population of roughly 1.7 million.

More than 3,000 people were evacuated from the area, officials said.

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said an undetermined number of people were missing following the eruption.

An ambulance of the volunteer firefighter unit carries the wounded from the village of El Porvenir after the eruption.

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