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25 killed, many missing as volcano erupts in Guatemala

GUATEMALA CITY, June 4, 2018

Twenty-five people have been reported dead, while at least another 25 were injured after the Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala erupted, shooting smoke and rocks 10 km into the air, the eruption forcing a mass exodus from nearby villages blanketed by ash, said local media reports.

Guatemala's most violent volcanic eruption in more than a century has claimed 25 lives while another 46 people are missing, reported BBC citing the country's disaster agency.

Villages on the slopes of Fuego volcano were buried in volcanic ash, mud and rocks as the volcano erupted for 16 and a half hours on Sunday.

Pyroclastic flows, which are fast-moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter, rushed down the mountainside and engulfed villages.

President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning.

The official death toll is 25 but volunteer firefighters say they have found another five bodies, according to local media.

A powerful earthquake has also hit the Guatemalan coast, though there are no reports of damage so far, reported BBC.

Fuego, about 40km south-west of the capital Guatemala City, spewed rock, gas and ash into the sky.

Fast-moving flows hit villages, killing people inside their homes.

Sergio Cabañas, head of the country's National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), said the town of El Rodeo had been "buried".

Other towns affected include Alotenango and San Miguel Los Lotes. Rescuers are still trying to reach a number of villages and the death toll is expected to rise.

Temporary shelters have been set up for about 3,000 residents who have been evacuated.

Efrain Gonzalez, who fled El Rodeo with his wife and one-year-old daughter, said he had had to leave behind his two older children, aged four and ten, trapped in the family home.




Tags: Volcano | Guatemala |

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