Guatemala Volcano Erupts, Scores Injured
The Pacaya volcano in Guatemala erupted on Thursday, injuring at least 65 people and forcing the government to close down the airport in the capital Guatemala City. Reports claimed that a television reporter who had been covering the eruption was killed while at least three children were missing.
The volcano, which is located in the southern part of the country, spewed ash, rocks, and lava, damaging more than a hundred homes, reports said. President Alvaro Colom declared a state of emergency in the capital and a state of calamity in two provinces surrounding the volcano. Close to 2,000 people living near the volcano were also evacuated, while motorists were prohibited from going near the area around the volcano as roads were covered by volcanic debris.
The La Aurora International Airport in the capital will be closed for at least 20 hours as workers try to clean up the runway, which has been covered by up to an inch of volcanic sand.
The Pacaya volcano is one of eight active ones in the country. It has erupted at least three times over the last 30 years, with the last coming in 1998, when it also blanketed the capital in volcanic ash.