Volcano eruption in Central America kills 25 injures hundreds

Six dead or missing after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupts

The toll in the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala has risen to 62, officials said on Tuesday.

Local media reported earlier that the powerful eruption left at least six people dead and 20 more injured.

Rescuers are using heavy machinery and shovels have found the bodies of at least eight more victims since the last death toll was given at 25.

Volcan de Fuego means Volcano of Fire in English.

The latest activity from Fuego is mostly on the far side of the volcano, facing the Pacific coast.

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 United States inaugurated its own embassy in the city, answering a longstanding Israeli demand for recognition of the city as their capital.

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. The United Nations has recognized the town as a UNESCO world heritage site.

Guatemala is home to a chain of volcanoes which run parallel to the Pacific Ocean.

Fuego is located about 44 kilometers southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, and is close to the city of Antigua, which is a popular tourist destination.

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

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A rapidly rising mudflow destroyed a highway bridge and sent several onlookers running for their lives, and a once-pristine nearby golf course was covered in dark gray ash and mud.

The rescue is being further complicated by rainfall and darkness.

"I came out to see the lava already there coming down".

"My mother was stuck there, she couldn't get out", said Lopez, weeping and holding her face in her hands.

"Conred [the country's disaster agency] never told us to leave".

The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction in Guatemala said Sunday that fiery clouds of smoke were billowing from the Volcan del Fuego and that soot blanketed cars and houses in the nearby villages of San Pedro Yepocapa and Sangre de Cristo.

About 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption and more than 3,000 evacuated, the Guatemalan government tweeted.

Fuego is one of Latin America's most active volcanoes. The very top of it reaches a height of 3,763 meters above sea level.

"This time we were saved; in another [eruption] no", said Efrain Gonzalez, 52, sitting on the floor of a shelter in the city of Escuintla, where he arrived with his wife and one-year-old daughter after fleeing the hard-hit El Rodeo community.

Ashley Thompson adapted this story for Learning English.

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