Thousands flee volcanos in Ecuador and Guatemala

Posted: May 29, 2010 in natural disasters
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Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as two volcanos erupted in Guatemala and Ecuador.
BBC online Saturday, 29 May 2010

In Guatemala, the Pacaya volcano began spewing lava, rocks and debris on Thursday (24 May 2010), killing at least two people and injuring more than 50 others. At least 1,700 people have fled the eruption, some 30km (19 miles) south of the capital city.

In Ecuador, the Tungurahua volcano forced the evacuation of seven villages and shut the airport and schools in Guayaquil, the country’s largest city. There is no suggestion the upsurge in volcanic activity is related.

President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of emergency in Escuintla region, Guatemala City and areas surrounding the capital. He said two people had died and three children were missing. One man was killed when he fell from a building while sweeping up the ash. A TV reporter also died while covering the eruption.

The volcano has covered parts of Guatemala City in ash – up to 7cm (2.7in) thick in some areas – forcing the closure of the country’s main international airport. Seismologists have warned of more eruptions “in the coming days” from Pacaya – one of the most active volcanos in Central America.

In Ecuador, the Tungurahua volcano sent ash plumes six miles (10km) into the air. Several thousand people have evacuated their homes in the area, 95 miles (150km) south-east of the capital Quito.

Strong winds blew the ash over the country’s most populous city, Guayaquil, and forced aviation officials to close the country’s main airport. There were reports that the ash cloud was dissipating as it drifted out over the Pacific Ocean.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10189054.stm

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