Photo: Fuego volcano
The thousands of people who were evacuated Thursday because of the violent eruption of the Fuego volcano, located some 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of the Guatemalan capital, returned home Saturday after seismic activity diminished.
The Conred emergency management agency said in a commuique that evacuees have been returning home since Friday afternoon and were all back by Saturday.
Authorities said that while the volcanic eruption took no victims nor caused material damage, it did force the evacuation of at least 10,600 people to safer areas to avoid a catastrophe.
When the volcano erupted, firefighters and army personnel aided the evacuation of Sangre de Cristo, Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Yucales and La Rochela.
The latest report of the National Seismology Institute, or Insivumeh, said that Fuego’s volcanic activity has dropped to “moderate” levels and nearby populations are no longer endangered.
At the same time, however, authorities are maintaining a “yellow” alert to warn of possible changes in seismic activity, and the volcano remains under permanent observation.
The Fuego volcano began erupting for the sixth time this year at around 4:00 a.m. Thursday, with powerful explosions sending columns of ash more than 3,000 meters (9,830 feet) above its crater.
The volcano has erupted 60 times since 1524, with the most violent occurring in 1932, 1971, 1974 and 1999.
Fuego, whose name in the indigenous Kakchikel language, is “Chi Cag” (where the fire is), is one of the most impressive, constantly active volcanoes in Central America.
Rising 3,760 meters (12,327 feet) above sea level, it straddles the provinces of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla and has been continuously active since 1999.