Tuesday, 5 June 2018

GUATEMALA: Fuego Volcano Eruption Kills 69, Tourists Scared And Barred

Official death toll from the eruption at the Fuego volcano is now at 69.

Thousands of people are being housed in temporary shelters.

Volcanologists say Fuego volcano eruption that sent ash up to 10km (33,000ft) into the sky, is over for the moment.

The volcano's energy has decreased and its tendency is to continue decreasing.

That is to say that there will be no imminent eruption over the next few days, says the head of Guatamala's National Institute of Seismology, Eddy Sanchez.

The eruption generated pyroclastic flows, fast-moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter which descended down the slopes, engulfing communities such as El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes.

A victim from Los Lotes says she narrowly escaped the volcanic matter as she walked through an alley to go to the shops.

Though she had found two of her children alive she was still searching for two daughters and a son and a grandson, as well as her extended family.

I do not want to leave, but go back, and there is nothing I can do to save my family, she says.

Another victim who fled 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.

Other residents were compelled to abandon their home.

All they could do was run with their families and leave behind all household pocessions.

Firefighters are searching affected areas for survivors and also for those who have died.

Firefighters were about to evacuate the area when they found an entire family inside a home.

They worked to remove their bodies from the houses.

One resident raised the alarm that the area was very dangerous and they evacuated and completed their mission of recovering the bodies of those people.

Firefighters heard something hitting their safety helmet and realized that it was not rain that was falling but stones.

People should not underestimate the risk from pyroclastic flows and volcanic mudflows, known as lahars.

Fuego is a very active volcano. It has deposited quite a bit of loose volcanic material and it is also in a rain-heavy area, so when heavy rains hit the volcano that is going to be washing the deposits away into these mudflows which carry a lot of debris and rock.

They are extremely dangerous and deadly as well.

Tourism Observer

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