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Storms may hamper ongoing rescue operations following deadly eruption of El Volcan de Fuego

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 08, 2018, 7:47:14 AM EDT

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At least 109 people have been killed in Guatemala by violent volcanic eruptions from El Volcan de Fuego (The Volcano of Fire) since Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

That number is expected to rise as emergency workers are unable to reach some villages that have been cut off by lava flows and lahars.

Estimates from rescue agencies put the number of people injured at near 300; however, that number may also rise as rescuers reach locations that have been inaccessible.

The volcano began erupting around midday on Sunday and lava flows reached villages around 4 p.m. local time according to the AP.

Guatemala volcano

Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, blows outs a thick cloud of ash, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala, Sunday, June 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)


The eruption had ended by Tuesday and volcanologists report a decreased threat for new eruptions in the coming days, according to the BBC.

More than 12,000 people have been evacuated so far, while about 1.7 million people have been impacted by the volcano.

A state of calamity was declared by the national government of Guatemala on Monday.

Ash falling in and around Guatemala City forced the closure of the international airport.

A powerful lahar partially destroyed a bridge between Sacatepequez and Escuintla late Sunday as pyroclastic material, mud and trees were swept downstream.


Downpours will keep the threat for additional lahars at a high level in the coming days, adding to the risk for communities surrounding the volcano.

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Rescue efforts were limited on Monday as areas remained too hot to enter and some rescue workers had their boots melt while trying to work in the charred communities.

Darkness then forced rescue efforts to be suspended Monday night as there is no electricity in the hardest hit areas.

On Thursday, Jun. 7, a new pyroplastic flow occurred in Las Lajas and El Jute Valley. As a result, these areas southeast of the volcano remain at "maximum alert level," according to the National Center for Disasater Risk (CONRED).

On Thursday afternoon, "search and rescue operations were temporarily suspended due to severe weather conditions," as reported by CONRED.

AP guatemala volcano 6/8

The village of San Miguel Los Lotes stands covered in debris after the Volcan de Fuego or "Volcano of Fire" eruption, in Guatemala, Thursday, June 7, 2018. Guatemala's national disaster agency suspended search and rescue efforts at the zone devastated by the eruption of the Volcano of Fire, saying climatic conditions and still-hot volcanic material makes it dangerous for the rescuers. (AP Photo/Moisés Castillo)

Showers and thunderstorms will continue across the region during the next several days, further hindering additional rescue and recovery efforts.

This marks the second eruption this year for El Volcan de Fuego, which is one of Central America's most active volcanoes.

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