A deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala has killed over 100 people — here’s what it looks like on the ground

The eruption of a volcano in Guatemala earlier this month has killed over 100 people and injured many more. Officials fear the death toll could still rise – the BBC reported on Wednesday that over 200 people were still missing.

Officials ordered a new round of evacuations on Friday over worries that lava and other volcanic material could spread to other areas. Over 3,000 people have been evacuated so far as communities seek to rebuild.

In total, over 1 million people have been affected by the eruption, according to Conred, Guatemala’s National Disaster Management Agency.

The volcano, called Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire), is located 27 miles southwest of Guatemala City, the country’s capital. This is the second time that Volcan de Fuego has erupted this year, but officials said this recent eruption was the deadliest Guatemala has seen in more than a century, according to the BBC.

The eruption spewed ash over 4 miles into the sky, with volcanic debris and ash covering portions of Guatemala City and local communities surrounding the volcano.

Guatemala City’s airport was temporarily shut down due to ash on the runway, but flights have since resumed.

Here’s what the situation looks like on the ground.


The Volcan de Fuego is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America, erupting multiple times per year.


The most recent eruption started Sunday, June 3. It’s the deadliest eruption in Guatemala in the past century.

See an eyewitness video of the eruption here:


The volcano spewed ash miles into the sky and sent lava racing down the mountain slopes into neighboring villages.

This video shows what the ash clouds looked like:


Pyroclastic flows, which are mixtures of gases and other volcanic matter, quickly destroyed villages and buried victims. The flows can reach speeds of over 400 miles per hour, making escape all but impossible.

Source: BBC

Here’s a video of a pyroclastic flow filmed by bystanders near the eruption:


The flows buried huge swaths of land around the volcano’s crater, as seen here in a satellite image.

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Lava covers parts of a golf course near the volcano.
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Satellite image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company

Ash and volcanic debris rained down on Guatemala City, which has a population of close to 3 million people.


Hundreds of rescue workers and emergency officials descended on the impacted communities to rescue and aid survivors.


Many victims were burned by lava or asphyxiated by the ash and pyroclastic material.

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A man covered with ash and burn wounds on the legs is taken to hospital after Volcan de Fuego erupted violently in El Rodeo, Guatemala, June 3, 2018.
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REUTERS/Fabricio Alonzo

The town of El Rodeo, located on the volcano’s slopes, was completely buried, according to Conred.

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REUTERS/Fabricio Alonzo

Source: CNN


Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales declared three days of national mourning immediately following the disaster.

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Volcan de Fuego is pictured after it erupted violently in San Juan Alotenango, Guatemala, June 3, 2018.
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REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

Source: CNN


“All our solidarity and support to the President Jimmy Morales and the Guatemalan people for the loss of human life after the eruption of the volcano of Fire,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said on June 3.

Source: CNN


“Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried,” survivor Consuelo Hernandez said in a video taken by Telesur, a multi-state-sponsored news organization. “We saw the lava was pouring through the corn fields and we ran toward a hill.”

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A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash.
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REUTERS/Fabricio Alonzo

Source: Telesur


Firefighters worked to rescue people in the areas immediately surrounding the volcano.

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REUTERS/Fabricio Alonzo

“The only thing we could do was run with my family and we left our possessions in the house. Now that all the danger has passed, I came to see how our house was –everything is a disaster,” local resident Ricardo Reyes told the BBC.

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REUTERS/Fabricio Alonzo

Source: BBC


Survivors were evacuated to temporary emergency shelters, where they waited for news about their homes and loved ones.


Volunteers and officials have continued search-and-rescue efforts in many of the impacted villages.


Unfortunately, not all of the victims have been found alive.


While the eruption officially ended the night of June 3, Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology warned that mudslides and atmospheric pollution could still pose risks.

Source: CNN