Guatemala Volcano Eruption Kills 25 and Injures Hundreds of Area Residents
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A volcanic eruption in Guatemala Sunday evening killed at least 25 people and injured hundreds of residents near the site. “It was Guatemala's most violent volcano eruption in more than a century,” BBC News reported.
CNN said the Guatemalan health ministry reported that at least 15 people have been hospitalized. The victims include 12 children, some of whom suffered severe burns.
More than 3,000 area residents were evacuated while search and rescue teams worked throughout the night to find survivors.
Fuego is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes. Fuego is located about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, Guatemala City.
The eruption spewed a river of red-hot lava and sent thick clouds of smoke nearly six miles into the air, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED), the government agency for disaster relief. Volcanic ash covered several neighborhoods.
Late Sunday, the Guatemala's National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology announced that "The eruption...is reaching its end with 14,763 feet of ash and weak-to-moderate explosions and incandescence in its crater."
Guatemala Residents Warned to Watch for Mudslides and Contaminated Water
However, the Institute warned that there “could be new eruptions, and residents in the surrounding areas should be on alert for mudslides containing volcanic material.”
Volcanic ash spread over a 12-mile radius. Winds could carry the cloud even farther, officials told CNN.
Authorities urged residents living near the volcano to evacuate immediately. They also warned residents in the states of Chimaltenango, Sacatepequez and Escuintla to watch for volcanic rocks and ash.
Residents were told to avoid roads near the volcano and to ensure that their water was not contaminated before drinking it.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning. In a statement issued late on Sunday, he spoke of the nation's "deep pain" caused by the "irreparable losses" in human lives.