Guatemala volcano erupts, killing at least 25 and blanketing villages in ash

Guatemala volcano erupts, killing at least 25 and blanketing villages in ash

In the village of El Rodeo, people said they did not learn of the danger until it was too late.

Aerial images have captured the extent of the damage caused by the eruption of Guatemala's Volcano of Fire as the death toll continues to climb. Today, rescuers are using heavy machinery and shovels to search for survivors, as well as victims who died in the pyroclastic flows that blasted out of the volcano, the AP said.

"This time we were saved; in another [eruption] no", said Efrain Gonzalez, 52, sitting on the floor of a shelter in the city of Escuintla, where he arrived with his wife and one-year-old daughter after fleeing the hard-hit El Rodeo community. According to media reports, it is the most powerful eruption since 1974.

Ash from the volcano fell on the capital city as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla.

Local search and rescue efforts were suspended on Sunday due to low light and risky conditions.

Around 300 people have been injured since the eruption on Sunday that sent columns ash and smoke 6.2 miles into the sky, dusting several regions with ash.

Guatemala City's global airport has re-opened after it was closed by falling ash from the eruption. Other towns impacted by the volcanic eruption are Alotenango and San Miguel Los Lotes.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he would issue a declaration of a state of emergency to be approved by Congress and urged people to heed warnings from emergency officials.

Sergio Cabañas, head of the country's National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), told a local radio station that a lava stream had changed course towards El Rodeo.

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The Fuego volcano erupted yesterday, sending lahars down the side of the mountain and huge plumes of ash into the air.

Guatemala City's global airport reopened Monday after it was closed by falling ash from the eruption.

The conical Volcan de Fuego reaches an altitude of 12,346 feet above sea level at its peak.

Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's seismology and volcanology institute, said the lava flows reached temperatures of about 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius).

CONRED, the government agency for natural disasters, says that "tourists should not attempt to hike the volcano".

Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego, or "Volcano of Fire", erupted violently Sunday, and its clear appearance on satellite imagery told the tale of how dramatic it really was.

A September 2012 eruption of the volcano saw 10,000 people evacuated, while another in February 2015 forced the closure of the capital's main airport. "When the lava was already here they passed by in their pickup trucks to leave, but the cars did not stop to pick people up".

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez said. The pyroclastic flows, fast-moving clouds of very hot gas, mud, rocks and volcanic matter, rushed down the mountain and engulfed entire villages as you can see in the drone video below.

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