Thousands flee volcanic eruptions

Footage of the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala spitting stones and ash

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as two volcanos erupted in Guatemala and Ecuador.

In Guatemala, the Pacaya volcano began spewing lava, rocks and debris on Thursday, killing at least two people and injuring more than 50 others.

In Ecuador, the Tungurahua volcano forced the evacuation of seven villages and shut the airport and schools in Guayaquil, the country's largest city.

There is no suggestion the upsurge in volcanic activity is related.

In Guatemala, at least 1,700 people have fled the eruption, some 30km (19 miles) south of the capital city.


President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of emergency in Escuintla region, Guatemala City and areas surrounding the capital.

He said two people had died and three children were missing. One man was killed when he fell from a building while sweeping up the ash. A TV reporter also died while covering the eruption.

The volcano has covered parts of Guatemala City in ash – up to 7cm thick in some areas – forcing the closure of the country's main international airport.

Seismologists have warned of more eruptions from the Pacaya volcano "in the coming days".

In Ecuador, the Tungurahua volcano sent ash plumes six miles (10km) into the air.

Strong winds blew the ash over the country's most populous city, Guayaquil, and forced aviation officials to close the country's main airport.

Several thousand people have evacuated their homes in the area, 95 miles (150km) south-east of the capital Quito.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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