Guatemalan authorities reacted slowly to signs of the Fuego volcano’s impending eruption on June 3, contributing to one of the most tragic natural disasters in recent Guatemalan history. The volcano rumbled to life early that day. By midday, it was spewing ash in smoking columns miles high that then fell, dusting a wide swath of the Central American country.
But with the mountain’s rumbles and the first ash showers, many villagers made a fatal bet to stay put, gambling that luck that had protected them for decades would hold once again. In the afternoon things took a turn for the worse. Tons of ash propelled by scalding, toxic gases poured down Fuego’s flanks.
At least 110 people have died and close to 200 are thought buried under the rubble in the hamlet on the fertile lower slopes of the volcano. (Reuters)
Photography by Carlos Jasso/Reuters