Guatemala volcano eruption kills at least 25

Jun 05, 2018, 07:58 IST | Agencies

Hundreds wounded in Guatemala's deadliest eruption in over a century; smoke, ash forces closure of int'l airport

Disaster management officials said there are also 'missing persons' and the lava has blocked entry to several communities. Pics/AFP
Disaster management officials said there are also 'missing persons' and the lava has blocked entry to several communities. Pics/AFP

At least 25 people were killed when Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, belching ash and rock and forcing the airport to close, the country's disaster agency said.

"The toll was 25 dead as of 9.00 pm (0300 GMT Monday)," the spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred) said in a WhatsApp group. The eruption sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees gray and blanketing streets, cars and people. Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defence staffers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.

Guatemala volcano

Conred President Jimmy Morales announced a red alert for Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepequez, the areas most affected by the eruption, and an orange alert throughout the country.

Guatemala volcano

The president said he and his government would determine whether to ask Congress to declare a state of emergency in the areas. Hundreds of personnel from the police, Red Cross and military have been dispatched to support emergency operations, Morales said. Dense ash blasted out by the volcano shut down Guatemala City's international airport, civil aviation said.

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