Deaths, injuries reported after volcano erupts in Guatemala

Charlene Craig
June 4, 2018

At least six people were killed and another 20 injured on Sunday when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted violently, spewing a stream of red hot lava and belching a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions.

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.

David de Leon, spokesman for the National Disaster Prevention Authority, said about 300 people from areas near Fuego have been evacuated.

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

Sunday marked the second eruption this year for the 12,346-foot volcano. "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".

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National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas had previously confirmed that seven people were dead and an unknown number were unaccounted for.

Another victim was found in the streets of El Rodeo by volunteer firefighters and later died in an ambulance.

Dense ash blasted out by the volcano shut down Guatemala City's global airport, civil aviation said.

An estimated 25 people, including at least three children, were killed and almost 300 injured on Sunday, officials said.

Officials said the dead were so far all concentrated in three towns: El Rodeo, Alotenango and San Miguel los Lotes.

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In another video, a visibly exhausted woman said she had narrowly escaped as lava poured through corn fields.

The Guatemalan government has advised people to stay away from the affected areas and wear protective masks to prevent inhaling poisonous smoke and falling ash.

Among the fatalities four people were killed when lava set a house on fire in El Rodeo village, Cabanas said. "We think that there could be a state of devastation in at least three areas", President Morales said.

The volcano, one of Central America's most active, is located near the colonial city of Antigua.

Dense ash blasted out by the volcano shut down Guatemala City's global airport, civil aviation said.

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