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Guatemala News Alert

Guatemala: Volcán de Fuego remains active June 11 /update 5

Activity continues at Volcán de Fuego June 11 following June 3 eruption; evacuation orders remain in place, avoid the area

11 Jun 10:56 PM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 6/11/2018, 12:00 AM until 6/15/2018, 11:59 PM (America/Guatemala). COUNTRY/REGION Volcán de Fuego
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Event

The Volcán de Fuego continues to release ash to an altitude of 4570 m (15,000 ft) and a dangerous mix of ash, rock, and volcanic gases (pyroclastic flow) up to nine times per hour as of Monday, June 11. Flight disruptions at Guatemala City's La Aurora International Airport (GUA) - located approximately 40 km (25 mi) northeast of the volcano - are possible in the coming hours and days due to the ash in the atmosphere; the airport had been temporarily closed due to ash following the June 3 eruption. Furthermore, ashfall has been reported across over half of Guatemalan territory, leading to fears that it could hinder agricultural activities and eventually lead to food shortages.

Evacuation orders remain in place, as do red alerts issued by Guatemala's emergency response agency CONRED - indicating emergency situations in which individuals should evacuate zones of imminent danger - for the three departments that surround the volcano: Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and Sacatepéquez. Strong rains are forecast overnight on June 11-12 (local time), which may cause continued lahar flows and landslides near the Volcán de Fuego and necessitate additional evacuations.

Context

The catastrophic June 3 eruption killed at least 110 people; nearly 200 others are still missing. The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue operations - hindered by heavy rain and consequent landslides in recent days - continue. The eruption has destroyed almost 1000 houses, more than 12,000 people have been evacuated from affected areas, and an estimated 1.7 million people have been affected in total by the eruption. The Volcán de Fuego, one of the most active volcanoes in Latin America, has been in a state of increased activity since 2015, with some 15 eruptive phases per year. The June 3 eruption was the most intense in more than 40 years. CONRED has been criticized for not warning the population of the impending eruption despite receiving warnings from INSIVUMEH (National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology).

Advice

Individuals present in Guatemala are advised to avoid affected areas, confirm flight and other travel reservations, closely monitor the situation, adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin from ashfall in affected areas.

 

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