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Guatemala volcano erupts suddenly, multiple deaths

04 June 2018

One village was extremely affected by running lava causing deaths and injuries.

The number of people killed by the powerful eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala increased to 25, Guatemala's disaster agency reported, while the number of injured people has risen to some 300.

A volcano southwest of Guatemala's capital has erupted for the second time this year, setting off loud explosions and spewing ash almost four miles into the sky.

A towering cloud of smoke from Volcan de Fuego, Spanish for "volcano of fire", 44 kilometers from Guatemala City has also blanketed nearby villages in heavy ash.

People have been evacuated from several areas and the capital's La Aurora airport has closed.

"The toll was 25 dead as of 9:00 pm (0300 GMT)", the spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) said in a WhatsApp group. In darkness and rain, the rescue effort was ordered suspended until early morning, municipal firefighters spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.

Another victim was found in the streets of El Rodeo by volunteer firefighters and later died in an ambulance. "Evacuations and searches are under way", he said, quoted by Reuters. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he would issue a declaration of a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials.

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

People flee El Rodeo village, about 35 km south of Guatemala City, after the eruption.

Ash has effected not only Guatemala City but the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and the popular tourist destination colonial town Antigua.

The huge plumes of smoke that could be seen from various parts of the country and the ash that fell in four of Guatemala's departments caused alarm among residents.

Aviation authorities closed the capital's worldwide airport because of the danger posed to planes by the ash.

Some 3,100 people evacuated nearby communities, and the eruption was affecting an area with a population of about 1.7 million people.

Guatemala volcano erupts suddenly, multiple deaths