Guatemala's Fuego volcano claims lives in deadly eruption today

Volcano erupts in Guatemala killing at least 7

Volcano erupts in Guatemala killing at least 7

The volcano spewed black smoke and ash into the sky, prompting the evacuation of some 100 people and forcing the capital's La Aurora worldwide airport to shut down its only runway.

Sacatepezuez television published images of a charred landscape where the lava came into contact with homes. Other videos from local media showed residents walking barefoot and covered in muddy residue.

After awakening on Sunday, and for the second time this year, the Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) has generated strong pyroclastic flows in the Barrancas de Cenizas, Mineral, Seca, Taniluya, Las Lajas and Barranca Honda localities, the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction in Guatemala (Conred) said.

Amid darkness and rain, the rescue effort was suspended until early morning, municipal firefighters' spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.

The Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala has erupted, shooting ash 10 km into the air and blanketing villages within 25km of the crater.

Lesser amounts of ash fell on Guatemala City, which is 44 kilometers (27 miles) from the volcano. "Where we saw the lava fall, we ran to a hillside" to escape, she added.

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It is the second time the volcano has erupted this year, setting off loud explosions and spewing ash almost four miles into the sky. Another victim was found in the streets of El Rodeo by volunteer firefighters, but the person died in an ambulance.

A total of about a million people have been affected by the eruption, the Guatemalan government says. "Evacuations and searches are under way", he said, quoted by Reuters.

President Jimmy Morales said he had convened his ministers and was considering declaring a state of emergency in the departments of Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepequez.

The runway was closed due to the presence of volcanic ash and in order to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a tweet.

It is close to the popular tourist destination Antigua, which is known for its coffee plantations.

The conical Volcan de Fuego reaches an altitude of 3,763 metres above sea level at its peak.

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