Authorities fear rising death toll in wake of Guatemala volcano eruption

Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption has claimed lives

Flows of lava have reportedly struck at least one village, causing deaths and injuries.

National Disaster Coordinator Sergio Cabanas said an undetermined number of people were missing following the eruption.

It's the second time this year it has erupted. Three bodies lay partially buried in ash-colored debris from the volcano, which lies about 45 kilometres from Guatemala City. He added that 3,100 people had evacuated the area so far. Firefighters said they had seen some people who were trapped, but roads leading to the area were cut by pyroclastic flows and they had been unable to reach it.

"Not everyone escaped, I think they were buried", Consuelo Hernandez told news outlet Diario de Centroamerica.

Amid darkness and rain, the rescue effort was suspended until early morning, municipal firefighters' spokesman Cecilio Chacaj said.

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The river of lava has reportedly changed direction and is now heading toward a small town.

Another victim was found in the streets of El Rodeo by volunteer firefighters and later died in an ambulance.

Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales said a national emergency is underway.

A total of about a million people have been affected by the eruption, the Guatemalan government says.

The eruption forced the Guatemala City's La Aurora worldwide airport to shut down its only runway due to the presence of volcanic ash and to guarantee passenger and aircraft safety, Guatemala's civil aviation authority said in a Tweet.

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David de Leon, spokesman for the disaster agency, said authorities had already evacuated about 300 people from nearby areas.

An employee sweeps the entrance of a gas station covered with ash after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted violently, in Guatemala City, Guatemala June 3, 2018.

The volcano is some 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, which is popular with tourists and is known for its coffee plantations.

The volcano's peak soars 3,763 meters above sea level.

BBC News reports officials advised residents to wear masks as ash fell.

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