At least 38 people, including three children, have been killed and another 300 injured following the violent eruption of the Volcan de Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes on Sunday officials said.
The eruption sent streams of red hot lava and a thick plume of black smoke and ash that fell down onto the capital and other regions in the area.
Victims of the volcano's "pyroclastic flow" were found near the erupting volcano as rescuers attempted to reach other badly injured residents.
Up to 3,100 people have been evacuated out of nearby communities according to Guatemala's Disaster Agency. The eruption is currently affecting an area with a population more than 1.7 million residents. Several shelters have been opened to help those who are fleeing the volcano's destruction.
"Currently the volcano continues to erupt and there exists a high potential for (pyroclastic) avalanches of debris," the disaster agency said via Twitter.
The Fuego volcano is located about 25 miles southwest of the nation's capital city and is close to Antigua, a colonial-era city that is popular with tourists and known for its coffee plantations.
President Jimmy Morales declared a state of emergency in the departments of Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and Sacatepequez, and has convened his country's cabinet ministers.
Huge plumes of smoke were visible across the country after the eruption of the Fuego volcano. Experts say the eruption was likely the same kind of "pyroclastic surge" that destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii. Pyroclastic flows can move incredibly fast, over 60 miles per hour, and travel much farther than lava flows.
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