Guatemala Volcano Erupts, Forces Evacuations near Tourist Region
By Brian Major
September 13, 2012 5:41 PM
Guatemala’s national disaster agency officials are carrying out the evacuation of more than 33,000 people following the eruption Thursday of a long-active volcano outside of the colonial city of Antigua, one of the country’s top tourist cities. The Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire, located 10 miles outside of Antigua, began spewing lava and ash Thursday, leading officials to launch a large-scale evacuation of thousands of people in five communities, according to the country’s head of emergency evacuations, who was quoted in press reports Thursday. The eruption spewed lava nearly 2,000 feet down the slopes of the 12,346-foot-high volcano. Residents have been evacuated from the neighboring towns of Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché, Morelia and La Rochelle, according to officials. The eruption is believed to be the strongest in the last decade, according to local volcanology experts.