Israel sends aid to Guatemala after deadly volcano eruption

Israel sends aid to Guatemala after deadly volcano eruption

Searing flows of ash mixed with water and debris down its flanks, blocking roads and burning homes.

Aviation authorities closed the capital's worldwide airport because of the danger posed to planes by the ash.

Residents that give food for the rescue workers are seen beside a police cordon at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at El Rodeo in Escuintla, Guatemala June 6, 2018.

The volcano erupted shortly before noon (4am BST), with lava beginning to flow down from the mountain at around 4pm (11pm BST).

"Temperatures in the pyroclastic flow can exceed 700 degrees Celsius and volcanic ash can rain down on a 15 kilometre radius", said Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute.

Residents said they were caught unaware by fast-moving pyroclastic flows.

Firefighters and members of the military are now involved in the search for missing people.

More than 3,000 people were evacuated due to the eruption, which affected rural communities around the volcano as well as Antigua Guatemala, a colonial-era town very popular with tourists in the Central American country, he said.

An ash-covered woman told the Diario de Centroamerica that lava had poured through corn fields and she thought more people may have died.

More than 3,200 people were evacuated and at least 46 people were injured, some of them with severe burns. Several charred bodies were also recovered.

Workers told of finding bodies so thickly coated with ash they appeared to be statues.

De Leon said a change in wind was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the city. Molten rock rushed down the mountainside and engulfed villages. She was searching for her three children, her mother, nephews and siblings. "We didn't believe it, and when we went out the hot mud was already coming down the street".

"My mother was stuck there, she couldn't get out", said Lopez, weeping and holding her face in her hands.

Most of the victims reported initially were from the village of El Rodeo, according to Guatemala's El Periódico newspaper.

Some residents said they never learned of the danger until it was upon them - and were critical of authorities.

Dozens more are missing, the country's disaster agency says. "The government is good at stealing, but when it comes to helping people, they lack spark". Almost 2,000 people are in shelters and more than 3,200 were evacuated from the areas near the volcano west of Guatemala City. Video footage showed a black cloud of ash rising from just beyond the golf club.

Emergency crews in helicopters managed to pull at least 10 people alive from areas cut off by the flows.

Rescue operations were suspended as of nightfall because conditions were too unsafe to continue, officials said.

The volcano is located less than 30 miles from Guatemala City.

CONRED said the eruption has caused a column of ash more than 11 kilometers above sea level, and generated strong rumblings with waves that caused vibration in roofs and windows at a distance of 20 kilometers.

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