Nearly 4,000 people have been evacuated following the latest eruption from the Volcan de Fuego in Guatemala. It is unclear which areas are subject to an evacuation order. If you are in the area, make sure you know what form evacuation orders will take and comply with guidance from the authorities. 

An initial explosion sent debris up to 1,000 metres into the air, as pyroclastic flows rumbled down the mountain. This was followed by an ash cloud that reached nearly 23,000 feet. The ash is drifting towards Guatemala City – there is advice below on how to minimise the health impact of the ash. The State Department reports that Panimache I and II, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, Alotenango, Antigua Guatemala are all experiencing ash fall.

In June, a violent eruption killed nearly 200 people, with over 200 more missing.

Travel advice

If you are in Guatemala, you should – 

  • Monitor local media.
  • Agree a plan with all the members of your group. Ready.gov offers advice on how to survive volcanic eruptions and what to do in the aftermath.
  • Comply with all instructions from authorities. If you are told to leave, follow the recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts – they may be blocked.
  • If you are near the affected area, start gathering together items you will need if you have to leave with short notice. Ready.gov has more information, including what you should include in your emergency supply kit.
  • Contact your travel agent and/or airline for further updates and support on your travel plans.
  • Follow the twitter accounts listed below and turn on push notifications for those accounts, so that you get an alert on your phone when they share new information.
  • Keep in touch with friends and family.
Twitter accounts to follow

We will update this list as/when we find more useful accounts.

Advice

From the US Embassy in Guatemala on Monday 19th November –

Location: Escuintla, Chimaltenango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala

Event: On Sunday, November 18, Fuego Volcano erupted for the fifth time in 2018.  The new eruption has generated a fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter in the direction of Barranca Seca and Santa Teresa.

Strong explosions have generated ashes up to height of 17,060 feet.  The following areas currently report ash fall: Panimache I and II, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, towards northeast.  There are also reports from Alotenango and Antigua Guatemala; and ash may reach Guatemala City.

The Guatemalan governmental agency for natural disasters, CONRED (Coordinadora Nacional Para la Reducción de Desastres) is working with the local authorities in the evacuation of residents in the closest areas, including El Zapote, and Yepocapa.  CONRED has declared red alert for Escuintla.  Embassy operations are normal.

Actions to Take: CONRED recommendations in case of ash fall

  • Cover your eyes, mouth and nose
  • Cover food and potable water storage containers
  • If you have respiratory problems seek medical attention
  • Once the ashes stop falling, clean the roof tops of affected belongings, such as your home roof, to avoid additional damage
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities

Assistance:

Please click here for the embassy website, which includes contact information and other alerts and advice.

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