Guatemala volcano erupts again, nearly 3,000 flee

Guatemala’s Fuego volcano in June 2018 (AFP pic)

GUATEMALA CITY: Guatemalan authorities on Monday declared a red alert after the Fuego volcano erupted again, forcing almost 3,000 residents to flee.

A fiery glow rose from the crater of Fuego which is erupting for the fifth time this year, one month after the last one and following a June 3 rain of rocks, ash and toxic gases that left almost 200 people dead and 235 missing.

A spokesman for Guatemala’s disaster management agency CONRED said 2,995 residents in the municipality of Escuintla and two other districts were moved to shelters as a precaution.

The spokesman, David de Leon, told reporters that the eruption became increasingly violent after it began Sunday morning at the volcano which is 3,763m high and located 35 km from Guatemala City.

Escuintla authorities declared the red alert.

Lava is rising 500m above Fuego’s crater, while the ash column exceeds 1 km above the volcanic cone and is causing a rain of particles, the Institute of Volcanology said.

The previous eruption lasted from October 12-13 with loud booms and lava flow. It caused the evacuation of 62 people and closed a highway.