Death toll rises to 25, 1.7 mln affected in Guatemala volcano eruption

Death toll rises to 25, 1.7 mln affected in Guatemala volcano eruption

The search for survivors from deadly eruptions of Guatemala's Fuego volcano was temporarily suspended on Thursday due to risky conditions for rescue workers, as the death toll from the disaster reached 100, authorities said.

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

The Volcan de Fuego, Spanish for "volcano of fire", exploded in a hail of ash and molten rock shortly before noon Sunday, blanketing nearby villages in heavy ash.

CONRED said the eruption has caused a column of ash more than 11 kilometers above sea level, and generated strong rumblings with waves that caused vibration in roofs and windows at a distance of 20 kilometers. "There are injured, burned and dead people", Sergio Cabanas, the general secretary of Guatemala's CONRED national disaster management agency, said on the radio.

A view of an eruption of the Fuego volcano in Alotenango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala, 03 June 2018.

When asked how many people are in her family, she responds, "We are plenty" before confirming she believes her family was buried entirely.

Temporary shelters have been set up for about 3,000 residents who have been evacuated.

Hilda Lopez said the volcanic mud flowed into her village of San Miguel Los Lotes, close to the mountain.

Rescue operations were suspended until 5:00 A.M. (1100 GMT) due to unsafe conditions and inclement weather, said Cecilio Chacaj, a spokesman for the municipal firefighters' department.

Guatemala Volcano
The Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire continues to spill out smoke and ash as residents evacuate from Escuintla

At least 25 people were killed, 20 others injured and some 1.7 million residents have been affected by the eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano, the most violent in recent years, according to government authorities.

Dozens of videos making the rounds on social media and Guatemalan TV showing widespread devastation. "When the lava was already here they passed by in their pickup trucks yelling at us to leave, but the cars did not stop to pick up the people", said Rafael Letran, a resident of El Rodeo.

"We were at a party, celebrating the birth of a baby, when one of the neighbours shouted at us to come out and see the lava that was coming", Ms Lopez recalled.

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez told local news outlet Diario de Centroamerica in a video.

Ash from the volcano fell on the capital city as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla.

Eddy Sanchez, director of the country's seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius). Some ash reached the capital of Guatemala City about 25 miles away, forcing the closure of its global airport.

Guatemala's Volcano of Fire erupted over the weekend, spewing deadly clouds and rivers of ash and pulverized rock.

Wounded and traumatised survivors of the Fuego volcanic eruption in Guatemala are being rushed to hospital by the Red Cross, as urgent work continues to evacuate communities from the danger zone. "We saw the lava was pouring through the corn fields and we ran towards a hill". The explosion sent ash thousands of feet into the air, but the fast-moving lava flows caught local officials off guard.

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