Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

'Volcano of Fire' Sends River of Lava Into Villages

'Volcano of Fire' Sends River of Lava Into Villages

Eddy Sánchez, the director of Guatemala's National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology, tells the newspaper Diario de Centroamerica that ash was falling north and east of the volcano, in San Luca, Antigua Guatemala, Alotenango, Chimaltenago and Zaragoza. "Evacuations and searches are under way", he said, quoted by Reuters.

Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego, Spanish for "volcano of fire", exploded shortly before noon. By late afternoon, lava was flowing down the mountain, engulfing homes and roads, and crippling rescue efforts.

The global airport in Guatemala City - around 27 miles away - was forced to close, after the runway and aircrafts were covered with volcanic materials.

Dozens of videos were popping up on social media and local TV, depicting the extent of devastation.

"Not everyone was able to get out".

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez said. A massive stream of lava could also be seen running through the region.

Hundreds of rescue workers, including firefighters, police and soldiers, worked to help any survivors and recover any more bodies amid the still-smoking lava. Firefighters reported being unable to reach people trapped in areas cut off by the lava.

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The eruption sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees grey and blanketing streets, cars and people.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.

The Israeli government said Monday it was sending emergency aid worth $10,000 (€8,560) to Guatemala.

Disaster officials said the eruption has affected more than one million people, with 3,100 evacuated from areas around the volcano and 20 injured people taken to health centers.

The volcano spewed a river of red lava and sent a thick cloud of black smoke and ash into the sky causing more than 300 people to be evacuated from nearby villages and forcing the capital's La Aurora global airport to shut down its only runway.

In Guatemala City, La Aurora airport has been closed due to ash.

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said an undetermined number of people were missing following the eruption of the Volcan de Fuego, which is 44 kilometers (27 miles) from Guatemala City. Two of the dead were children who burnt to death as they watched the eruption from a bridge, officials said.

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