Deaths, injuries reported after volcano erupts in Guatemala

Volcan de Fuego blows outs a thick cloud of ash blanketing villages

SANTIAGO BILLY AP Volcan de Fuego blows outs a thick cloud of ash blanketing villages

The Fuego volcano literally translates to "fire" in the Spanish language.

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said seven people were confirmed dead and an unknown number were unaccounted for.

More than 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption as lava flows towards the capital, Guatemala City.

The Guatemalan volcano erupted on Sunday and sent flows of pyroclastic materials down its flanks into nearby towns. Several of the bodies are still unidentified, according to the National Institute of Forensic Science. Numerous dead came from the three towns of El Rodeo, Alotenago and San Miguel los Lotes.

The head of the country's disaster agency had previously put the death toll at 33, but warned it would go higher.

Fuego volcano, located about 50 km west of the capital of Guatemala City, exploded around noon local time and lava began flowing down in the afternoon.

A hot flow of mud, ash and gas swept down from Fuego after a new blast on Monday morning that interrupted disaster workers pulling bodies from the brown sludge that engulfed the village of El Rodeo in southern Guatemala. The death toll is expected to rise, according to BBC.

Sunday's explosion sent a large plume of ash and molten rock into the air, killing more than two dozen people.

The eruption forced the Guatemala City's La Aurora global airport to shut down its only runway due to the presence of volcanic ash and to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a Tweet.

People were working to clean ash off the runways to get the airport operating again.

A resident cries after she was safely evacuated from her home near the Volcan de Fuego, or "Volcano of Fire", in Escuintla, Guatemala, Monday, June 4, 2018.

The land left behind was still too hot to touch or to recover bodies from many places.

A river of lava, rocks and ash poured down the mountain, burying homes and people. It is estimated that the eruption has taken lives of 25 people that also included no less than 3 children and injured around 300 people on Sunday.

Some locals say they didn't learn of the danger until it was upon them. "When the lava was already here they passed by in their pickup trucks to leave, but the cars did not stop to pick people up". A search was underway for the missing, though first responders efforts were hindered by the lava flow, officials said.

The disaster agency said 3,265 people had been evacuated.

It was the 3,763-meter (12,346-feet) volcano's second eruption this year.

This is the most violent eruption of Fuego in more than four decades.

Israel will coordinate further needs with Guatemalan authorities, he said. The country's main airport is closed.

One woman told the Diario de Centroamerica that lava had poured through corn fields and she thought more people may have died.

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