Mass evacuation begins as volcano erupts in Guatemala

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A man cleans ashes from the Fuego Volcano off his auto in Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez department, 45 km southwest of Guatemala City.

Ash fell on the Guatemala City area as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla, which are in south-central Guatemala around the volcano.

The disaster agency said more than 3,200 people had left affected areas.

Rescuers struggled to reach rural residents cut off by a volcanic eruption that killed at 25 people near Guatemala's capital, and authorities feared the death toll could rise with an undetermined number of people unaccounted for.

At least 25 lives have been claimed as a result of the latest eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano.

The Guatemalan military said it was providing assistance from rescue operations to setting up temporary shelters and clearing volcanic ash from La Aurora airport's runway.

The civil aviation authority of Guatemala announced a temporary closure of operations at Guatemala City's worldwide airport due to the presence of volcanic ash.

President Jimmy Morales informed that a national emergency response team has been activated. Three bodies lay partially buried in ash-coloured debris from the volcano, which lies about 27 miles from Guatemala City. Police officers, soldiers, and other emergency workers are attempting to rescue people.

Videos published by local media show bodies lying on top of a lava flow and rescuers attending to people covered in ash.

Rescue operations were suspended as of nightfall because conditions were too unsafe to continue, officials said.

"It's a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the Rodeo village".

The Sunday eruption marked the second time this year that the mountain erupted, spewing hot lava spilling down the sides and sending thick smoke billowing nearly six miles into the air.

The volcano expelled hot muddy material that caused the deaths, which included several children, in communities located on its southern slope, disaster agency spokesman David de Leon said.

At least 38 people were killed and 300 injured in the eruption as fast-moving lava overwhelmed and flattened homes, some of which were still occupied.

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez told news outlet Diario de Centroamerica.

Volcan del Fuego had already erupted once this year, and it is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America.

Israel's ties with Guatemala were significantly upgraded last month when the central American country became the second country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, two days after the U.S. inaugurated its own embassy in the city, answering a longstanding Israeli demand for recognition of the city as their capital.

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