Death toll climbs from volcano's explosions of ash, molten rock in Guatemala

Death toll climbs from volcano's explosions of ash, molten rock in Guatemala

At least six people were killed and 20 others were injured after the Fuego volcano erupted near Guatemala City on Sunday, leaving the residents in panic, according to officials.

The volcano, whose name means fire, is one of Central America's most active.

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David de Leon, spokesman for the disaster agency, said about 300 people evacuated areas near the volcano.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defence staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event. The volcano, around 27 miles southwest of Guatemala City, spewed rocks and ash into the air and the country's National Disaster Management Agency says it sent a river of lava into villages, the BBC reports.

"This is a deadly eruption", tweeted volcanologist Janine Krippner of Concord University.

The volcano erupted previously this year, in February.

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At least 20 people were injured, and authorities have said they feared the death toll could rise with an undetermined number of people unaccounted for.

FILE: A woman covered with ash and burn wounds on her legs is taken to hospital after Fuego volcano erupted violently, in El Rodeo, Guatemala 3 June 2018.

Among the fatalities were four people, including a disaster agency official, killed when lava set a house on fire in El Rodeo village, Cabanas said.

A man cleans ashes from the Volcan de Fuego off his auto in Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez department, southwest of Guatemala City on Sun., June 3, 2018.

Morales announced a red alert for Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepequez, the areas most affected by the eruption, and an orange alert throughout the country. "That could cause more mud flows and nearby rivers to burst their banks", said Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute. He says El Rodeo was buried and other villages have been cut off by the lava.

Most of the victims reported initially were from the village of El Rodeo, according to Guatemala's El Periódico newspaper. Streets and houses were covered in the colonial town of Antigua, a popular tourist destination. Lesser amounts of ash reached the capital of Guatemala City some 25 miles away, forcing the closure of the La Aurora International Airport.

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