Volcano eruption in Guatemala kills one, injures 20 as ‘state of calamity’ is declared

By BNO News

GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA (BNO NEWS) -- Guatemala President Alvaro Colom on Thursday declared 'state of calamity' following the eruption of the Pacaya volcano near Guatemala City.

President Colom said during a press conference that at least four people are missing after the eruption. Noti7 TV said one of its reporters, Anibal Archilla, was hit on the head by rocks and was one of the missing. According to the TV channel, his body was found on early Friday. The others missing, three children were found alive.

Emergency services reported at least 20 people injured as volcanic debris fell on villages.

The eruption covered Guatemala City with ash, prompting local officials to close the La Aurora international airport until further notice.

The Pacaya volcano began to erupt just after 7:00 p.m. local time.

"Due to the presence of volcanic ash after the eruption of the Pacaya volcano, Civil Aviation is recommending to cancel all air operations at La Aurora International Airport," said a special bulletin from the Guatemalan Geology Institute.

Civil Aviation spokeswoman Monica Monje said the airport closed since the beginning of ashfall. Only the Tikal El Peten Airport is open and any Guatemala-bound flight will be diverted to El Salvador, Monje added.

According to Education minister Denis Alonso Larios, schools will close on Friday in the Escuintla, Guatemala City and Sacatepequez regions.

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