GUATEMALA CITY, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - A 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook Guatemala Monday morning, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), but disaster officials said it did not cause any damage, including at the Fuego volcano where recent eruptions have killed 110 people.
Strong shaking was felt but “all is calm,” Guatemala’s disaster agency said in a statement. A Reuters witness said tremors were not felt in the capital Guatemala City.
The epicenter was near the Pacific Coast less than 18.7km from Escuintla, an area at the Fuego volcano’s base that suffered the most deaths and injuries from eruptions of gas and ash that began two weeks ago.
Guatemala said late Sunday that it would end efforts to find nearly 200 people that went missing in the disaster.
The tremor struck at a depth of 100km, according to the USGS.
ALOTENANGO, Guatemala, June 6, 2018 (AFP) -- Nearly 200 people are missing and at least 73 people were killed since Guatemala's Fuego volcano began erupting over the weekend, officials said Wednesday.
Seven communities in already devastated areas were evacuated as the volcano's activity increased, with rescue operations halted.
In the city of Escuintla, near the summit, panicked locals rushed to their cars to escape, causing chaotic traffic.
An AFP photographer witnessed a large plume of ash rise into the sky, prompting an evacuation of everyone authorities could find before the police, the military and rescuers were stood down.
And a total of 192 people remain missing since the weekend eruptions, disaster relief agency chief Sergio Cabanas told reporters.
The search for bodies in mountain villages destroyed by the eruption was progressing slowly, officials said earlier, given the nature of the terrain and the way the volcano released large amounts of boiling mud, rock and ash down the mountain.
"We will continue until we find the last victim, though we do not know how many there are. We will probe the area as many times as necessary," Cabanas told AFP.
However, the prospects of finding any more survivors was poor, he said. "If you are trapped in a pyroclastic flow, it's hard to come out of it alive," he said, adding that people who may have been caught in the flow may never be found. The latest of the 73 victims was a 42-year-old woman who died in hospital having lost both legs and an arm in the eruption.
The previous toll was given as 72. Some 46 people were injured, around half of whom are in serious condition, it said.
The 3,763-metre volcano erupted early Sunday, spewing out towering plumes of ash and a hail of fiery rock fragments with scalding mud.
Authorities said more than 1.7 million people had been affected by the disaster, including more than 3,000 ordered evacuated, many living in shelters in Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango since Sunday's eruption. The speed of the eruption took locals by surprise, and could be explained by it producing pyroclastic flows, sudden emissions of gas and rock fragments, rather than lava, said volcanologist David
Rothery of Britain's Open University. President Jimmy Morales, who has declared three days of national mourning, has visited the disaster zone.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply saddened by the "tragic loss of life and the significant damage caused by the eruption," and said the UN was ready to assist national rescue and relief efforts.
GUATEMALA CITY, June 5, 2018 (News Wires) - Rescue workers pulled more bodies Monday from under the dust and rubble left by an explosive eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano, bringing the death toll to at least 69.
Of them, 17 have been identified so far, said Fanuel Garcia, head of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences.
In addition, there are 46 people injured, most of them seriously, more than 1.7 million being hit by the disaster, including 3,271 ordered evacuated and 1,787 in shelters in the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango since Sunday's eruption.
The 3,763-metre (12,346-foot) volcano erupted early Sunday, spewing out towering plumes of ash and a hail of fiery rock fragments with scalding mud.
Authorities had warned the death toll could rise after searches resumed for survivors in communities on the mountain's southern flank.
After an initial toll of 25 dead, it was revised upwards within hours as bodies were recovered from villages razed by the tumbling mud.
"There are missing persons, but we do not know how many," said Sergio Cabanas of Guatemala's disaster management agency. A roll call of communities on the slopes of the volcano was under way.
The speed and ferocity of the eruption took mountain communities by surprise, with many of the dead found in or around their homes.
GUATEMALA CITY, June 4, 2018 (News Wires) - An estimated 25 people, including at least three children, were killed and nearly 300 injured on Sunday in the most violent eruption of Guatemala’s Fuego volcano in more than four decades, officials said.
Volcan de Fuego, whose name means “Volcano of Fire”, spewed an 8-kilometer (5-mile) stream of red hot lava and belched a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions.
The charred bodies of victims laid on the steaming, ashen remnants of a pyroclastic flow as rescuers attended to badly injured victims in the aftermath of the eruption.
It was the 3,763-meter (12,346-feet) volcano’s second eruption this year.
“It’s a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the El Rodeo village. There are injured, burned and dead people,” Sergio Cabanas, the general secretary of Guatemala’s CONRED national disaster management agency, said on radio.
CONRED said the number of dead had risen to 25, from an earlier estimate of seven, including a CONRED employee. Some 3,100 people have been evacuated from the area.
Officials said the dead were so far all concentrated in three towns: El Rodeo, Alotenango and San Miguel los Lotes.
Rescue operations were suspended until 5:00 A.M. (1100 GMT) due to dangerous conditions and inclement weather, said Cecilio Chacaj, a spokesman for the municipal firefighters department.
Dozens of videos appeared on social media and Guatemalan TV showing the extent of the devastation.
One video published by news outlet Telediario, purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village, showed three bodies strewn atop the remnants of the flow as rescuers arrived to attend to an elderly man caked from head to toe in ash and mud.
“Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven’t been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too,” said CONRED’s Cabanas.
Los Angeles, May 21, 2018 (News Wires) - Authorities in Hawaii have warned of dangerous "laze" fumes as molten lava from the erupting Kilauea volcano reached the Pacific Ocean.
Two lava flows "reached the ocean along the southeast Puna coast overnight," on Hawaii's Big Island, the US Geological Survey, which monitors volcanoes and earthquakes worldwide, said in a statement on Sunday.
A crack however opened in the ground under one of the lava channels, "diverting the lava... into underground voids," the statement said.
When the hot lava flow hits the water it produces acid fumes known as "laze" - lava and haze.
"The plume is an irritating mixture of hydrochloric acid gas (HCl), steam, and tiny volcanic glass particles," the USGS said.
"This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows."
The USGS also warned that volcanic gas emissions "have tripled as a result of the voluminous eruptions."
Moderate winds means that areas downwind from the volcano "may experience varying levels of vog," or volcanic smog, a haze created when emissions react to oxygen, moisture, dust, and sunlight, the USGS said.
One giant lava flow grew to six meters in height and blocked a portion of Highway 137, seriously impacting area residents, Hawaii News Now reported.
Kilauea is the world's most active volcano and one of five on Hawaii's Big Island.
It started erupting on May 3, prompting about 2,000 people to flee from their mountainside homes.
Scientists believe the volcanic activity may be a precursor to a major eruption similar to the one that shook the island in the mid-1920s.
But they say they expect no loss of life given that the most exposed residential areas have been evacuated and the region where the volcano is located -- on the southeastern part of the island -- is lightly populated.
Authorities have warned residents to stay away from the evacuated neighbourhoods, warning that toxic sulfur dioxide seeping out of nearly two dozen fissures could prove deadly.
PAHOA, HAWAII, May 20, 2018 (News Wires) – Lava oozing out of cracks for two weeks in rural Hawaii neighborhoods took on new characteristics as fresher magma mixed with decades-old magma, sending a flow towards the ocean Saturday.
The first known serious injury in the eruptions was reported on Saturday.
“A homeowner on Noni Farms Road who was sitting on a third-floor balcony got hit with lava spatter,” said Janet Snyder, a spokesperson for the Office of the Mayor, County of Hawaii.
“It hit him on the shin and shattered everything there down on his leg,” she said, adding that lava spatters “can weigh as much as a refrigerator and even small pieces of spatter can kill.” No other information was immediately available.
Since a first fissure opened in a community on May 3, lava was mostly spattering up and collecting at the edges of the cracks in the ground. Two neighborhoods with nearly 2,000 people were forced to evacuate as lava claimed 40 structures.
On Friday afternoon, the lava changed dramatically, with one fissure ramping up and sending a flow across a road, destroying four more homes and isolating residents, some of whom had to be airlifted to safety.
The change is attributed to new magma mixing with 1955-era magma in the ground, creating hotter and more fluid flows, scientists said.
“There’s much more stuff coming out of the ground and it’s going to produce flows that move further away,” said Wendy Stovall, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist.
By Saturday morning, two of 22 fissures had merged, creating a wide flow advancing at rates of up to 300 yards (274 meters) per hour. Aerial footage from the USGS showed fast-moving lava advancing to the southeast. The flow was 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the ocean, scientists said.
In the background, the footage showed lava fountaining 328 feet (100 meters) high at one of the fissures. The fountains are created by vents closing, forcing magma to burst through a single outpoint, Stovall said.
If lava threatens main highways, more people will be told to prepare for voluntary evacuation.
A lava flow was less than a mile (kilometer) away from Highway 137 and would reach it in a matter of hours, officials warned Saturday afternoon. No one lives in its path and another highway remained open as an escape route, said Hawaii County spokeswoman Janet Snyder.