Guatemala′s Fuego volcano erupts, killing scores | Americas| North and South American news impacting on Europe | DW | 03.06.2018
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Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts, killing scores

The eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano has killed at least 69 people, including children, and dozens more are unaccounted for. Nearby villages have been blanketed in ash, causing more than 3,200 people to evacuate.

At least 69 people were killed and dozens injured as Guatemala's Fuego volcano continued to erupt for the second time this year on Monday.

Only a small number of the victims have been identified so far.

Authorities have warned the death toll could rise as there are a number of people who have been reported missing and are unaccounted for.

Read more: Our Beautiful Planet: Nature's tenacity after volcano eruptions

Eruption

The volcano began spewing a river of red lava on Sunday and sent a thick cloud of black smoke and ash into the sky causing more than 3,265 people to be evacuated from nearby villages.

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Watch: Volcano blankets villages with ash

Guatemala City's international airport had been closed because of the risks posed to planes but was reopened mid-morning Monday after workers cleared away ash.

The active volcano is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of the capital Guatemala City. Many of the dead came from the three towns of El Rodeo, Alotenago and San Miguel los Lotes.

Hundreds working to recover bodies

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said four people died when lava set a house on fire and two children were burned to death while watching the eruption from a bridge.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he would issue a declaration of a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to listen to warnings from emergency officials.

Read more: Why risk living on a volcano like Kilauea?

Hundreds of rescue workers, including firefighters, police and soldiers worked to recover bodies from still-smoking lava. Rescue operations had been suspended until Tuesday morning due to inclement weather and dangerous conditions.

The Israeli government said on Monday it would send emergency aid worth $10,000 (€8,560) to Guatemala. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Israel will coordinate further needs with Guatemalan authorities.

Guatemala was one of the few countries to side with the US after President Donald Trump's December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Guatemala: emergency services staff (picture-alliance/Xinhua)

Firefighters work during the eruption of 'Volcan de Fuego'

'A river of lava'

Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's seismology and volcanology institute, said the lava flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius).

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the Rodeo village. There are injured, burned and dead people," Cabanas said on radio.

Read more: Why risk living on a volcano like Kilauea?

Earlier on Sunday, the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) in Guatemala said fiery clouds of smoke were billowing from the volcano, and that soot had blanketed cars and houses in the nearby villages of San Pedro Yepocapa and Sangre de Cristo.

Lesser amounts of ash fell on Guatemala City, which is 44 kilometers (27 miles) from the volcano.

The Fuego volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America.

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Fiery images

amp, law, shs/se (AP, Reuters, dpa, AFP)

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