Guatemala Volcano: Search continues for missing people

Volcan de Fuego                        Guatemala Government via BBC News

Volcan de Fuego Guatemala Government via BBC News

A chain of more than 30 volcanoes makes up Guatemala's part of the ring of fire, although only two others are active.

Authorities have warned the death toll could rise as there are a number of people who have been reported missing and are unaccounted for.

TRT World spoke with Antigua-based journalist Louisa Reynolds for more details.

Reuters writes: "The charred bodies of victims laid on the steaming, ashen remnants of a pyroclastic flow as rescuers attended to badly injured victims".

Hilda Lopez said the volcanic mud flowed into her village of San Miguel Los Lotes, close to the mountain. "There are injured, burned and dead people", National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said on the radio. Later in the afternoon, heavy rains forced rescuers to abandon the search in El Rodeo until the next morning, a spokesman for CONRED said. Evacuation orders were only given to some 3,000 of almost 1.7 million people in the surrounding villages.

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the Rodeo village".

"Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven't been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too", Cabanas said.

"We were at a party, celebrating the birth of a baby, when one of the neighbours shouted at us to come out and see the lava that was coming", Ms Lopez recalled. "I think they ended up buried", Consuelo Hernandez, a resident of the village of El Rodeo, told Diario de Centroamerica. "[I escaped] because we saw the lava was pouring through the cornfields and we ran toward the hills". Images in the news media and on social media showed people and villages caked in ash.


Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has declared a state of emergency and three days of national mourning.

Residents of El Rodeo, about 8 miles (12 kilometers) downslope from the crater, said they were caught unaware by fast-moving pyroclastic flows when the volcano west of Guatemala City exploded Sunday, sending towering clouds of ash miles into the air. Inhaling ash or hot volcanic gases can asphyxiate people quickly.

"Right now, we are carrying out an inspection around the installations, to determine the level of difficulty we have and we found a lot of ash".

Twenty people suffered burn injuries, and more than 3,000 were evacuated due to the eruption, which affected rural communities around the volcano as well as Antigua Guatemala, a colonial-era town very popular with tourists in the Central American country, he said.

Workers and guests were evacuated from the La Reunion golf club.

Video footage showed a black cloud of ash rising from just beyond the golf club. The deep ravines on the volcano's slopes were already filled with lava, Mazariegos said, and there was no way to tell how a new flow might spread. "Someone raised the alarm that the area was very risky and we evacuated but thank God we met with our objective of recovering the bodies of those people". Inside the flow temperatures can vary from 200 to 700 degrees Celsius, offering little chance of escape to people in their way.

The death toll rose late Sunday after 18 bodies were found in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes, disaster agency spokesman David de Leon said.

Recommended News

  • Merkel condemns Iran tweet but still backs nuclear deal

    Merkel condemns Iran tweet but still backs nuclear deal

    Merkel has acknowledged that while European powers see the JCPOA as the best guarantee against an Iran with nuclear weapons, it is "not flawless ".
    Loew fumes as 'sloppy' Germany crash on Neuer's return

    Loew fumes as 'sloppy' Germany crash on Neuer's return

    A frustrated Kimmich said: "There are not a lot of positive things to say after a game like that". Germany will face Mexico , Sweden and South Korea in Group F.
    New Leak Hints At Dark Mode Coming To macOS

    New Leak Hints At Dark Mode Coming To macOS

    Xcode is an integrated development environment (IDE) for MacOS, which helps developers in making new Apps on the platform. It will more almost match the App Store on iOS 11 and be extending the preview videos like this one for apps.
  • Saudis issue first driving license to women

    Saudis issue first driving license to women

    According to the National Review, eight have been temporarily released while several others are still in custody. Saudi women had also been banned from voting until 2015, when they were allowed to vote in local elections.
    Do We Already Know Fallout 76's Release Date?

    Do We Already Know Fallout 76's Release Date?

    It will have quests and a story, like any other game from Bethesda Game Studios , a developer known for meaty RPGs like Skyrim . If this is the direction that Bethesda is taking Fallout 4 , it will be intriguing to see if they add PvP to the game.
    Pedophile can run for Congress, thanks to McAuliffe decision restoring felons’ rights

    Pedophile can run for Congress, thanks to McAuliffe decision restoring felons’ rights

    Larson's manifesto also reveres Adolf Hitler as a "white supremacist hero", as well as Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. He has used different names on his own websites to endorse child rape and other forms of sexual abuse.
  • Why Are There Restrictions for Melania Trump's Latest Appearance?

    Why Are There Restrictions for Melania Trump's Latest Appearance?

    Melania Trump has made her first public appearance in nearly a month, at a White House event to honour Gold Star families. He went on for a minute or so, saying the media was speculating where she has been.

    Ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort accused of witness tampering attempt

    He has pleaded not guilty to charges related to his failure to disclose his lobbying work for a foreign government. District Court for the District of Columbia to revoke or revise an order releasing Manafort ahead of his trial.
    Facebook gave phone makers access to user data

    Facebook gave phone makers access to user data

    According to the Times , however, an exemption was given to the device makers and they reportedly kept the access to the data. A prominent American daily says the company has given phone makers vast access to personal information of its subscribers.
  • Apple WWDC: Apple wants you to use your iPhone less

    Apple WWDC: Apple wants you to use your iPhone less

    And perhaps most importantly, grouped notifications will allow you to swipe and clear a whole group of notifications all at once. Users will also be able to use Quick Look to sign PDFs, rotate and crop photos , and trim video without opening an app.
    Ontario Steelworkers endorse Andrea Horwath and the NDP

    Ontario Steelworkers endorse Andrea Horwath and the NDP

    This time, she said she planned to cast her ballot on June 7 for the NDP to try to keep Ford out of the premier's office. Her faith in the Liberals was shaken and her vote will go to the NDP, she said.
    West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini 'mugged at gunpoint in Chile'

    West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini 'mugged at gunpoint in Chile'

    Pellegrini and his friends are said to have tried to calm the criminals down before they had weapons pointed at them. The 64-year-old was out with family and friends in Santiago when his party were reportedly targeted by a gang.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.