25 killed in in Guatemala volcano eruption, 1.7m affected

An employee sweeps the entrance of a gas station covered with ash after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala City

An employee sweeps the entrance of a gas station covered with ash after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted violently in Guatemala City

The agency also launched an online registry of missing people.

Sunday's eruption caught residents of remote mountain hamlets off guard, with little or no time to flee to safety.

The eruption showered sand and ash on coffee plants across as much as 6,890 acres, including close to the volcano's cone, causing an estimated loss of 0.91 percent of Guatemala's coffee production, the country's national coffee association said.

The director of Guatemala's National Institute of Forensic Science said 17 victims have been identified.

Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego, or "Volcano of Fire", erupted violently Sunday, and its clear appearance on satellite imagery told the tale of how dramatic it really was. Numerous dead came from the three towns of El Rodeo, Alotenago and San Miguel los Lotes.

CONRED, the government agency for natural disasters, says that "tourists should not attempt to hike the volcano".

Over two dozen people were killed from the blast and officials fear that number will rise.

Disaster agency spokesman David de Leon said 18 bodies had been found in San Miguel Los Lotes.

Search and rescue operations for the missing and dead have been suspended due to low light and risky conditions, and will resume early on Monday morning, the spokesman said.

Around 27 miles away in Guatemala City, the capital's worldwide airport was forced to close, with images showing planes dusted with volcanic material.

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Ash from the volcano, which lies about 27 miles (44 kilometres) west of Guatemala City, fell on the capital area as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla.

"Pyroclastic flows or surges can move at over 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, and may be hot enough to glow like molten lava".

One video published by news outlet Telediario, purportedly taken in the El Rodeo village, showed three bodies strewn atop the remnants of the flow as rescuers arrived to attend to an elderly man caked from head to toe in ash and mud. "We are evacuating and rescuing people and have reports of 20 wounded six dead and disappeared".

Fuego volcano, whose name means "fire" in English, spewed an 8 km stream of red hot lava and belched a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions.

Flights to and from Guatemala City's La Aurora airport were canceled, leaving thousands of travelers stranded. Seven deaths were confirmed previously.

"All our solidarity and support to the President Jimmy Morales and the Guatemalan people for the loss of human life after the eruption of the volcano of Fire".

Rescuers have struggled to reach rural residents cut off by the eruption, which also wounded at least 20.

This is the second time in 2018 that Fuego, one of Latin America's most active volcanoes, has erupted.

Searing flows of ash mixed with water and debris gushed down the volcano's flanks, blocking roads and burning homes.

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