The Volcán de Fuego continues to experience regular minor explosions and emitted an ash cloud on Sunday, December 9. According to the Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH), there were between five and nine explosions per hour recorded at the volcano. An ash cloud reached over 4800 m (15,750 ft) into the air, scatting ash up to 25 km (16 mi) southwest of the mountain. Affected areas include Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo, and Yepocapa. The explosions also caused a series of weak avalanches around the volcano. Further volcanic activity and associated transportation disruptions, including at Guatemala City's La Aurora International Airport (GUA) - located approximately 40 km (25 mi) northwest of the volcano, cannot be ruled out over the coming days and weeks.
The volcano entered into an eruptive stage on November 18, the fifth of the year, spewing lava and releasing ash into the air. A major eruption occurred on June 3, the most intense in more than 40 years. At least 190 people were killed and a total of 1.7 million people were affected in total. The emergency response agency CONRED had been heavily criticized for not warning the population of the impending eruption despite receiving warnings from INSIVUMEH.
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 on average. A total of 32 volcanoes are present in Guatemala, including three that show consistent signs of activity: Fuego, Pacaya, and Santiaguito.
Individuals present in Guatemala are advised to avoid the vicinity of the volcano, 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 ash fall in affected areas.
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