Guatemala Volcano: Airport Reopens; Red Alert in Effect for Parts of Country

Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, blows outs a cloud of ash, as seen from Escuintla, Guatemala. // Photo by AP Photo/Moises Castillo via Newscred

The La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala reopened Tuesday morning after dozens of flights were halted Monday due to an eruption at the Fuego volcano.

According to Guatemala’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, red alerts remain in effect for Escuintla, Chimaltenango, Sacatepequez, Alotenango, Escuintla, Yepocapa and Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, while an orange alert remains in effect at a national level. 

The Independent is reporting that dozens of flights from the country’s La Aurora airport, on the southern outskirts of Guatemala City, were halted Monday because of volcanic ash falling from the nearby volcano. Departures to Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami were among those cancelled, according to the Independent report. 

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According to U.K-based website, Express, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has confirmed that the main airport reopened as of Tuesday morning. According to the same report, the death toll is said to have exceeded 60 people with Sergio Cabanas, head of the National Disaster Prevention Authority, confirming that “people have been injured, burned and killed,” with evacuations underway.

On Sunday, the Fuego volcano began the second eruption of this year with strong explosions, raising ash columns to nearly 20,000 feet above sea level, moving for the moment in a west and south-west direction, according to Guatemala’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction.

According to Guatemala’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, a total of 3,265 people were evacuated from the communities most affected by the recent eruption of the Fuego volcano, so it was necessary to set up nine shelters in the department of Escuintla and one more in Sacatepequez, in which 1,868 people have taken refuge.

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