Thousands flee as Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire erupts again

Howard TerryJun 07, 2018

A thick layer of still smoldering ash and volcanic rock blanketed the tiny hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, with only the roofs of some homes sticking out.

Almost 200 people are missing and at least 75 have been killed since Guatemala's Fuego volcano began erupting over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

Sunday's eruption was the most violent in more than a century.

Officials said the known number of dead was 75, though that toll was expected to rise.

"One million seven hundred thousand people are affected, and that number could rise - he said - there is serious damage to infrastructure, especially roads and bridges, so communications are very hard".

Traffic came to a standstill on choked roads and many without vehicles fled on foot, even from the city of Escuintla, which is located about 15 kilometres from the volcano and was not under an evacuation order.

The institute's latest bulletin said the blowing ash could reach heights of about 6000 metres above sea level.

"There is persistent ash in the environment".

Volcanic material was descending the mountain's south side, prompting an evacuation order and the closure of a nearby national highway, the AP reports.

Firefighters remove a body buried in volcanic ash in the village of El Rodeo.

More than 3,200 people have been evacuated and about 2,000 are sheltered in Escuintla and Sacatepéquez, which together with Chimaltenango are the communities most affected.

On the slopes Wednesday, local volunteers distributed food to rescue workers.

Members of Guatemalan Army and police officers, search for victims in the ash-covered village of San Miguel Los Lotes, in Escuintla department, about 35 km southwest of Guatemala City, two days after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, on June 5, 2018.

An aerial view of the area around Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, June 4, 2018, after an eruption.

The prospects of finding any more survivors was poor, he said.

A firefighter is seen while he is searching along with other firefighters for their missing colleague in the area affected by the volcanic eruption in Alotenango, Guatemala.

Thousands of people have been evacuated, CONRED said.

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