It was a sad Sunday for the people of Guatemala as A sudden, violent eruption from Fuego volcano spewed a fiery mix of ash, lava and gases, that left residents nearby with little time to evacuate in a deadly disaster.
about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, spewed rock, gas and ash into the sky on Sunday.
At least 69 people, including at least three children, have reportedly died after the most aggressive volcanic eruption in Guatemala in more than a century. The Volcan de Fuego, Spanish for “Volcano of Fire,” erupted Sunday and released a 5-mile stream of lava, a pyroclastic cloud and ash that fell over nearby Guatemala City, the country’s capital.
About 3,100 people were evacuated and nearly 300 people have been injured after the eruption, the news agency reported.
The airport was also closed because of the danger that floating hot ash posed to aircraft.
The residents has been advise to wear masks to protect against any ash still in the air. Smaller villages closer to the volcano, however, were severely affected. Rivers of lava poured into several villages.
killing people inside their homes. Hundreds were injured and many are missing.
Footage showed rescue teams working in darkness trying to enter homes to look for trapped residents, particularly the elderly.
Fuego is one of Latin America’s most active volcanoes. A major eruption devastated nearby farms in 1974, but no deaths were recorded. Another eruption in February this year sent ash 1.7km (1.1 mile) into the sky. Sunday’s event was on a much greater scale. Ash reached up to more than 6km.
A mix of red-hot rock and gas, known as pyroclastic flow, rushed down the mountainside and engulfed villages. Unlike slow-moving lava, which people can walk away from, pyroclastic flow can reach extremely high speed.
This is Guatemala’s deadliest such event since 1902, when an eruption of the Santa Maria volcano killed thousands of people.
Hundreds of police officers, soldiers and emergency workers have been sent to affected areas on the slopes of the volcano. They found charred bodies resting on steaming remnants of pyroclastic flow. Survivors covered in ash were carried away.
Sergio Cabañas, head of the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), said the town of El Rodeo had been “buried”.
Other towns affected include Alotenango and San Miguel los Lotes. Rescuers are still trying to reach a number of villages and the death toll is expected to rise.
shelters have been set up for about 3,000 residents who have been evacuated. Volcanic ash has fallen as far as Guatemala City. Soldiers have been clearing the runway at the city’s La Aurora airport.
A total of about 1.7 million people have been affected in four regions.
Officials have advised people to wear masks as protection against falling ash.
President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning.
In a statement issued late on Sunday, he spoke of the nation’s “deep pain” caused by the “irreparable losses” in human lives.
The Volcan de Fuego, or “volcano of fire,” exploded in a hail of ash and molten rock shortly before noon Sunday, blanketing nearby villages in heavy ash. Then it began sending lava flows down the mountain’s flank and across homes and roads around 4 p.m.