Nearly 200 missing, 75 killed in Guatemala volcano eruption


Guatemala City: At least 192 people have been reported missing after the eruption of the highly active Fuego volcano in Guatemala and the death toll has reached 75, said authorities.

The volcano erupted again on Tuesday forcing thousands of rescuers to abruptly suspend the search for victims, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

Sergio Cabanas, Executive Secretary of the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala (CONRED), said the number of injuries remains at 46, while 1.7 million people have been affected. At least 3,271 people have been displaced and 2,625 relocated to temporary shelters.

The eruption has destroyed a bridge and affected two electricity grids and La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, which resumed operations on Monday.

Fuego volcano erupted around noon on Sunday and lava began flowing down in the afternoon. According to CONRED, the eruption is “the strongest one recorded in recent years”.

A state of disaster has been declared for the southern departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango, which suffered the most in the disaster.

“The conditions are critical in the areas near Fuego volcano,” said Eddy Sanchez, Director of the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology.

According to Sanchez, Sunday’s eruption is the most violent explosion of Fuego volcano since 1974. At its fiercest, the volcano could spray ash all the way to Guatemala’s southern neighbours El Salvador and Honduras.