Authorities fear rising death toll in wake of Guatemala volcano eruption


Six people are dead or missing and 20 have been injured after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted on Sunday sending a river of lava flowing into a village. Video images published by Sacatepezuez television showed a charred landscape where a lava flow came into contact with homes. "I think they ended up buried", Consuelo Hernandez, a resident of the village of El Rodeo, told the newspaper Diario de Centroamerica.

Hundreds of firefighters, police and soldiers are searching for the missing amid the still-smoking lava.

Two children were burned to death as they watched the volcano's second eruption this year from a bridge, he added.

The number of people killed by the powerful eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala increased to 25, Guatemala's disaster agency reported, while the number of injured people has risen to some 300.

The volcano is located about 25 miles south-west of the capital Guatemala City.

Amid darkness and rain, the rescue effort was suspended until early morning, municipal firefighters' spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.

A total of about a million people have been affected by the eruption, the Guatemalan government says.

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Volcán de Fuego y sus erupciones.

"Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven't been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too", said CONRED's Cabanas.

At an ad-hoc morgue in the town of Alotenango, at least three bodies lay covered with blue sheets.

David de Leon, spokesman for the National Disaster Prevention Authority said a change in wind was to blame for the volcanic ash falling on parts of the city. Shelters were opened for those forced to flee.

President Jimmy Morales informed that a national emergency response team has been activated.

At least one of the people killed was a disaster agency official, according to CBS News.

The eruption forced the Guatemala City's La Aurora global airport to shut down its only runway. Streets and houses were covered in the colonial town of Antigua, a popular tourist destination.