Volcano erupts in Guatemala, claims 25 lives
Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail|04 June 2018|19 Ramadaan 1439
At least 25 people have been reported killed and 300 injured, after a volcano erupted in Guatemala, spewing ash and lava over the surrounding area, the disaster management agency has said.
It was feared the death toll could climb even higher because there were communities that could not be accessed by Sunday evening, Sergio Garcia Cabanas, Conred agency’s head, said.
The dead included a Conred employee and at least three children, officials said.
The army said it had evacuated 3,100 people from around the volcano, 70km south-west of Guatemala City, and posted pictures of soldiers carrying children covered in ashes from houses.
President Jimmy Morales visited Conred headquarters on Sunday evening and later following a cabinet meeting declared a state of emergency in the departments (the states) of Chimaltenango, Sacatepequez and Escuintla.
Al Jazeera’s David Mercer, reporting from Guatemala City, said that the volcano remains in “eruptive phase” and rescuers have scaled down the operation at nightfall on Sunday because of safety concerns.
The ashfall has also forced the capital city’s La Aurora International Airport to shut down.
While the vicinity of the volcano is sparsely populated by farming villages, the ashfall has affected an area with over a million and a half people, Mercer said.
‘Volcano of fire’
The eruption of the 3,763-metre Volcan de Fuego – meaning “volcano of fire” in Spanish – was the most powerful in recent years, according to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh).
Pictures on social media showed residents fleeing from lava and local roads, buildings and trees covered in a layer of ash, while the smoke clouds reached six kilometres above sea level.
Twenty people had to be treated in hospital for burns including at least six children, the health ministry said.
Historical records have documented the volcano’s eruptions back to 1531.
Source – Al Jazeera