The Fuego volcano, located near the capital of Guatemala, is the most active in Central America. Local authorities said more than a thousand residents had to be evacuated on Thursday May 4 after it erupted. Because the eruption, which began in the morning, caused fiery clouds - mixtures of gas, water vapor and debris at very high temperatures which descend the slopes at very high speed -, raising fears for the safety of surrounding populations.
A total of 1,054 people living in 5 neighboring villages have been evacuated, Oscar Cossio, director of the Coordination for Disaster Reduction (Conred, civil protection), said at a press conference. According to Conred, about 130,000 people live under the threat of the Fuego volcano, a colossus 3,763 meters above sea level located just 35 km from the capital Guatemala.
The director general of the Institute of Volcanology of Guatemala, Edwin Rojas, however, announced Thursday evening "a decrease in the activity of the volcano". Earlier, Conred had indicated that the eruptive column, composed of gas and ash, rose up to 6,000 meters above sea level.
When the Fuego volcano last erupted in December 2022, Guatemala's international airport had to be closed, as was a busy road between the tourist town of Antigua Guatemala and the south of the country. Police forces prohibited Thursday afternoon the passage on this same way.
On June 3, 2018, a fiery cloud emitted by the volcano had buried the village of San Miguel Los Lotes, killing 215 people and as many missing. In Guatemala, two other volcanoes are active: those of Santiaguito (west of the country) and Pacaya (south).