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Thousands evacuated as the Guatemala volcano eruptions, then relieved

Guatemala City (AFP) – Guatemalan authorities declared a red alert and evacuated about 4000 people Monday after the Fuego volcano…

Guatemala City (AFP) – Guatemalan authorities declared a red alert and evacuated about 4000 people Monday after the Fuego volcano broke out for the fifth time this year and sent out ashes and lava into the rock before its activity decreased.

Memories are still painfully fresh by the eruption of the volcano in June, which swept away villages and left nearly 200 people dead and 235 were missing.

The Institute of Volcanology Director Pablo Oliva said that the volcano’s activity level had fallen considerably since Monday, but it was too early to tell the locals to return to their homes.

A spokesman for Guatemalan disaster management agency CONRED had previously said that it decided to evacuate Escuintla municipality and two other districts. Some 4000 people were taken to temporary shelters as a precautionary measure.

Spokesman David de Leon said that the outbreak became increasingly violent after it began Sunday morning, which led to fear of the safety of the thousands of people living on the slopes of the high mountain’s 3 763 meter mountain.

An ash cloud rose about 1,000 meters above the crater and areas west of the volcano – 35 kilometers from Guatemala City – was under a barrier of gas ash and fiery rocks, CONRED said.

An earlier eruption on 12-12 October was characterized by increasingly high bars and lava flows. At that time, 62 people were evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure and a motorway around the mountain was closed.

Many of those evacuated on Monday said they feared a repetition of the deadly june outbreak.

“We were afraid and why we were evacuated,” said Miriam Garcia, from the village of El Rodeo, which largely saves the lethal outbreak.

“You have to go out as soon as possible for when the (volcanic material) comes close, has no longer left, even if you drive, because it’s very fast,” says Oscar Juarez from El Rodeo.

The activity in Guatemala’s two other volcanoes, Pacaya and Santiaguito, has increased in recent months, but they have not entered the breakout phase.

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