Explosion in Guatemala

World News Update

Janea Russell-Lambert, Staff Writer

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A violent eruption happened in Guatemala on Sunday, June 3rd, 2018. The last one that was almost this drastic happened over four decades ago. Since the volcano is located in the Ring of Fire, it is proven to be one of the most active volcanoes. The volcano spewed out a 5-mile stream of hot lava, then the thick mud and smoldering ash followed. Temperatures of pyroclastic flow can reach up to 700 degrees Celsius, which is 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit. Pyroclastic flows are fast moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter; due to this, it is impossible to breath properly for anyone in proxomity. The ash that came out of the volcano fell in about a nine-mile radius, which would destroy any water consumption sites or food sources.

El Rodeo village was the most impacted and was later fully buried under the lava, mud, and ash; the surrounding villages were greatly affected too, but had a little more time to evacuate. Many people were trapped inside of their homes, and others had to flee without their possessions or even having to leave behind family members in order to get to safety. There was also a late warning because there were no real signs that the volcano was about to erupt. This lead to 62 lives being lost, though this number is suspected to rise. Some people could not even be identified because they were burned beyond recognition. The government is trying new ways to identify individuals.

Rescue operations were put on hold until 5am the next day due to the conditions, but even then it was way too hot and dangerous. Since there was a lack of electricity, it meant that rescue operations could only work in the day and had to be shut down when night fall approached, making it even more difficult to find the bodies.

On Tuesday, Guatemala’s Volcanology Institution said that there were eight to ten moderate eruptions per hour, though they might not have been as traumatizing as the initial one. Now some 3,100 people have been evacuated and are safe, but that is not everyone and unfortunately, they will most likely not have a home and some family to come back to.