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Volcán de Fuego. Guatemala. EFE
Volcán de Fuego. Guatemala. EFE

State of emergency in Guatemala after volcano eruption

President Jimmy Morales declared a state of emergency and public calamity in the three affected Guatemalan regions to facilitate the rescue and care of victims.

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A huge wall of smoke and ashes covered the Guatemalan sky on Sunday afternoon. The explosion at the peak of the Volcán de Fuego was heard miles away, as if a giant door had been slammed shut.

But nothing was closed. On the contrary, from the mouth of the volcano came lava flows that in very short time buried El Rodeo, a small village located in the municipality of Esquintla, 27 miles from the Guatemalan capital.

During the first 24 hours after the eruption, the authorities have counted 38 deaths, hundreds injured and an unknown number of missing persons.

According to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala (Conred), more than 1.7 million people were affected by the eruption and 3,000 were evacuated from the surrounding towns.

The column of ashes reached more than six miles high and spread over the Central American country for several kilometers, affecting surrounding regions such as Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, and Escuintla, as well as Guatemala City.

According to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh), this was the strongest eruption in several decades.

President Jimmy Morales declared a state of emergency and public calamity in the three affected Guatemalan regions to facilitate the rescue and care of victims.

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