Guatamala Volcano Pacaya violently erupts | Villages evacuated


Pacaya, one of the most active Guatemala volcanoes, began violently erupting on Thursday. Image from Flickr.

Late Thursday evening, violent eruptions of the Guatemala volcano Pacaya prompted President Colom to declare a “state of calamity.” About 25 miles south of Guatemala City, this volcano in Guatemala is known for near-continuous activity. A combination of earthquakes and tropical storms, however, have worsened the Guatemala volcano eruptions to a dangerous level.

Guatamala volcano prompts state of calamity

On Thursday afternoon, President Alvaro Colom declared a “state of calamity” in areas surrounding Guatemala City. A “state of calamity” in Guatemala is much like a “state of emergency” in other nations – it authorizes government assistance with disaster efforts. About 1,600 people from El Rodeo, El Patrocinio, Villa San Miguel Canales, Amatitalan and other small villages have been evacuated to shelters. The government will be providing emergency money to these residents, the shelters and others affected by the Guatemala volcano. The government is also encouraging residents in affected areas to remain inside if at all possible.

One reporter dead from Guatemala volcano eruption

While attempting to report on the Guatemala volcano, cameraman Anibal Arcila was hit on the head and killed by falling debris from Pacaya. Three children, ages seven to 12, have been reported missing. There have also been reports of 20 or more injuries as a result of the falling ash and debris. The Guatemala City international airport has been shut down because of the several inches of volcanic ash spewing into the air and settling on the ground.

Earthquakes, tropical storms increase Guatemala volcano danger

Pacaya is part of a Guatemala volcano chain that has been relatively active. A popular tourist destination, Pacaya has numerous lava rivers. A small earthquake accompanied the initial eruption of Pacaya, which sent ash, volcanic rock, and debris 1,500 meters into the sky. Two additional small earthquakes have shaken the area around the Guatemala volcano, and a tropical storm in the area is mixing rainwater with the ash. The sticky muck created by this combination is coating everything within 50 miles or more of the Pacaya volcano.

See the Guatemala volcano Pacaya erupt


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