Thousands flee as Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts
November 20, 2018 - Around 4,000 people fled their homes as red-hot rock and ash cascaded down the slopes of the Fuego volcano towards areas devastated by an eruption that killed 194 people earlier this year.
Incandescent material burst as high as 1,000m above the crater and flows of hot rock and ash extended nearly 3km down one flank of the volcano. Hot blasts of pyroclastic material pushed down canyons on the slopes, while a column of ash rose nearly 7,000m above sea level and drifted toward Guatemala City to the east.
Hundreds of families heeded the call of disaster coordination authorities to evacuate 10 communities, piling into yellow school buses for trips to shelters. The national disaster commission said 3,925 people had been evacuated by early Monday. As the hours passed, however, the intensity of the volcano's activity decreased and many decided to return to their homes or seek shelter with friends or family.
The Volcano of Fire is one of the most active in Central America and an eruption in June 2018 killed 194 people. Another 234 are officially missing, although organizations supporting the communities have insisted there are thousands of missing persons.