Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Guatemala volcano erupts, killing children as lava spews into village

Guatemala volcano erupts, killing children as lava spews into village

The volcano spewed black smoke and ash into the sky, prompting the evacuation of some 100 people and forcing the capital's La Aurora global airport to shut down its only runway.

A volcano southwest of Guatemala's capital has erupted for the second time this year, setting off loud explosions and spewing ash almost four miles into the sky.

One village was extremely affected by running lava causing deaths and injuries.

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National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas had previously confirmed that seven people were dead and an unknown number were unaccounted for. He added that 3,100 people had evacuated the area so far. In darkness and rain, the rescue effort was ordered suspended until early morning, municipal firefighters spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.

The volcano erupted previously this year, in February.

Dozens of videos appeared on social media and Guatemalan TV showing the extent of the devastation. Another victim was found in the street by volunteer firefighters but died in an ambulance.

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In another video, a visibly exhausted woman, her face blackened from ash, said she had narrowly escaped as lava poured through corn fields. "I think they ended up buried", Consuelo Hernandez, a resident of the village of El Rodeo, told the newspaper Diario de Centroamerica. Lesser amounts of ash reached the capital of Guatemala City some 25 miles away, forcing the closure of its global airport, CONRED said.

The volcano is located some 40 km southwest of the capital Guatemala City and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, popular with tourists and known for its coffee plantations. "This is an terrible place to be, if you are ever around an erupting volcano like this and you see a cloud moving along the ground towards you, RUN". Eddy Sanchez, director of the country's seismology and volcanology institute, said the flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius).

The huge plumes of smoke that could be seen from various parts of the country and the ash that fell in four of Guatemala's departments caused alarm among residents.

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A disaster authority spokesman said a change in wind direction was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the capital.

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