Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption kills 25

Frederick Owens
June 12, 2018

Six people are dead or missing and 20 have been injured after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted on Sunday sending a river of lava flowing into a village. Officials fear the death toll will rise because so many homes are hard to access. The bodies were recovered in the hamlets of Los Lotes and El Rodeo.

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

The speed and ferocity of the eruption took mountain communities by surprise, with numerous dead found in or around their homes.

By Monday, the intense activity had subsided, Conred said.

"As soon as we received the information around 6 a.m. that the volcano was in an eruptive phase, the protocol was initiated to verify with different sectors and also talk to the communities, to community leaders".

Several children are among those confirmed dead.

Dead dogs, chickens and ducks also lay among the mud and ash, much of it still smoking. "Our hearts go to the victims and their families".

Garcia, from Los Lotes, said she escaped with the help of her husband. Almost 2,000 people are in shelters and more than 3,200 were evacuated from the areas near the volcano west of Guatemala City.

"UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply saddened by the "tragic loss of life and the significant damage caused by the eruption", and said the UN was ready national rescue and relief efforts".

Six dead or missing after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts

According to reports, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales is considering declaring a state of emergency in the areas most affected by the eruption.

The very top of it reaches a height of 3,763 meters above sea level. People were seen covered in ash, fleeing the scene by foot. It was the second eruption this year and the biggest in decades. Hundreds were injured and many are missing. They were trapped in their home, which was flooded with hot mud that descended from the volcano.

The runway was closed due to the presence of volcanic ash and in order to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a Tweet.

Officials said just 17 had been identified so far because the intense heat of the volcanic debris flows left most bodies unrecognisable.

The BBC reported that the head of the country's National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), Sergio Cabañas said that the town of El Rodeo had been "buried".

"The videos and still images I've seen suggest instead one or more pyroclastic flows".

Planetary geosciences professor David Rothery of Britain's Open University in Milton Keynes told VOA that tiny rock fragments known as hot ash normally rise in the air and form a gas column, but in this case were too dense and ended up cascading down the mountain.

By contrast, Kilauea produces lava (or sticky, molten rock) that typically creeps along at maybe hundreds of meters per hour - not almost as fast as devastating pyroclastic flow.

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