Major Volcan Fuego eruption kills at least 99 and causes significant economic damage

According to Guatemala’s natural disaster commission, known as Conred, a violent volcanic eruption southwest of Guatemala City on 3 June has killed 99 people, and another 192 remain unaccounted for. The scale of the tragedy is of an unprecedented scale; although a major eruption in 1974 was larger, The National Institute for Seismology and Volcanology said that the pyroclastic flows seen following Fuego’s eruption on Sunday were greater than any previously recorded. Although Conred stated that the 3,271 people were evacuated to safety, it has become a subject of debate whether or not its warning procedures gave civilians enough warning to leave the area. As Conred continues to coordinate emergency response services to clear the area and search for more survivors, the economic toll is also becoming clearer. In addition to the destruction of at least 400 homes and other structures in the vicinity of the volcano, the ash has also caused damage to areas under coffee cultivation, including those in Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepéquez.

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