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Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupts in fury

The death toll is up to 65, with hundreds injured, from Sunday’s powerful eruption of Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala.

An eruption of Fuego volcano via @MLopezSanMartin on Twitter. It is one of Central America’s most active volcanos.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales declared three days of national mourning on Monday after the eruption of Volcan de Fuego on Sunday, June 3, 2018. According to media reports, it is the most powerful eruption since 1974. Late in the day on June 4, the official death toll was up to 65, and many more were injured. The volcano spewed a river of hot lava that cut directly through the village of El Rodeo, at the foot of the volcano, burying the town and causing some deaths. Later, 18 bodies are said to have been found in the village of San Miguel Los Lotes. Meanwhile, the volcano belched thick, black smoke nearly six miles (10 km) into the air. Fleeing residents became covered in ash, and ash drifted the 27-mile (44-km) distance to Guatemala City, Guatemala’s capital. More than 3,000 people were forced from their homes, according to media reports. CONRED, Guatemala’s government agency for disaster relief, released a video of the event in which Consuelo Hernandez said:

Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried. We saw the lava was pouring through the corn fields and we ran toward a hill.

Rescue workers were hampered when roads were cut by the lava flows. The ash forced the closure of La Aurora International Airport, where the military assisted in clearing ash off the runway.

Fuego Volcano is famous for being almost constantly active at a low level. Small gas and ash eruptions occur every 15 to 20 minutes, but larger eruptions are rare. However, the volcano has been in a more active period since 2002.

The tweets below are from PNC Guatemala (@PNCdeGuatemala on Twitter), the national civil police force. If you click on each tweet, you will find an enlarged view, with a translation button below the tweets. They tell part of the story of yesterday’s dramatic events in Guatemala.

Bottom line: Reports indicate at least 65 dead and hundreds injured from Sunday’s powerful eruption of Volcan de Fuego, one of Central America’s most active volcanoes.

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Deborah Byrd

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