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Thousands evacuated as the Guatemalan volcano eruptions, then ends

Guatemalan authorities declared a red alert and evacuated about 4000 people Monday after the Fuego volcano broke out for the…

Guatemalan authorities declared a red alert and evacuated about 4000 people Monday after the Fuego volcano broke out for the fifth time this year, sending sheds of ash and lava down the mountain before the activity declined and stopped.

Memories are still painful fresh volcanic eruptions 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 sharply late in the Monday.

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 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 3 763 meter high (12.246 foot) 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.

When the volcano’s activity fell back to normal parameters, it was evacuated for caution to return home on Tuesday by bus.

An earlier eruption on 12-13 October was characterized by increasingly high currents and lava flow. At that time, 62 people were evacuated from their homes as a precaution and a motorway around the mountain was closed.

Many of those evacuated on Monday said they feared a repetition of the mortal juncture.

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

Oscar Juarez of El Rodeo said, “You have to go out as soon as possible, when the volcanic material) comes close, you have no more time to leave, even if you drive because it’s very fast.” [19659012] The activity of 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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