Nearly 4,000 people were evacuated in Guatemala on Monday after the Fuego volcano erupted for the fifth time this year. It sent bursts of ash and lava down the mountain after it eventually stopped, AFP reported. There were no reports of any casualties.
Director of the Institute of Volcanology, Pablo Oliva, said the volcano’s activity level dropped significantly by Monday evening. It began on Sunday morning and became increasingly violent, which led to the evacuation of people living on the slopes of the 3,763 metre-high mountain.
A column of ash rose about 1,000 metres above the crater, Guatemala’s disaster management agency CONRED said. Agency spokesperson David de Leon said people were evacuated from the municipality of Escuintala and two other districts.
Authorities have told the evacuees to be cautious and return to their homes only later on Tuesday. Villagers said they evacuated mainly because they were scared there may be a repetition of the June eruption, when nearly 200 people died and villages were swept away. More than 1.7 million people had been affected by the eruption, which was the most violent one in more than four decades.
Fuego, which means “fire” in Spanish, is one of the most active volcanos in Central America. It is located close to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site – the colonial city of Antigua. The city has survived several major eruptions. Guatemala’s two other volcanoes – Pacaya and Santiaguito – have become increasingly active recently but they have not yet entered the phase of eruption.