La Palma residents grapple with devastation wrought by volcano

By Miguel Pereira and Borja Suarez

LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -Residents of Spain’s La Palma were struggling on Thursday to come to terms with the devastation wrought by the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which has been ejecting a destructive cocktail of ash, smoke and lava for more than 10 days.

Carmen Rodriguez, who lost her home in the village of Todoque, was caught off guard by the advancing column of molten rock.

“We never thought that the volcano was going to reach our house, never,” she said, recalling how she rushed to salvage belongings during a last-minute evacuation before the lava engulfed her home.

“There were so many people and difficulties, there was a queue. Thankfully we were able to take the washing machine, the fridge and a cooker that I recently bought.”

“I only ask that they give us a place to live, that they give us a habitable house, nothing more,” she said.

Some 6,000 people have been evacuated and are yet to return to their houses, a local government spokesperson said on Thursday.

Since erupting on Sept. 19 the volcano has destroyed more than 800 buildings, as well as banana plantations, roads and other infrastructure.

“It’s unimaginable that this would happen, and now we are living worse days than the COVID state, which was already a bit unreal,” said Dutch national Emilie Sweerts, who has lived on the island in the Canaries archipelago for six years.

“I really thought this would be my paradise island,” she said from her jewelry store in Tazacorte, a small coastal town which the lava ploughed through on its way to the sea, wrecking houses and farms.

After meandering downhill to the coast for nearly 10 days, the lava reached the ocean just before midnight on Tuesday a kilometer west of Tazacorte and has created a rocky outcrop more than 500 meters wide.

On reaching the water, the lava cools rapidly, binding to the cliffside and enlarging the island’s territory.

Despite fears of toxic gases from the lava reacting with the seawater, authorities said the air remained safe to breathe inland.

Emergency services warned that ash thrown out from the crater was blocking sunlight and reducing visibility.

Several villages near the coastline remained locked down as a precaution but banana farmers were allowed access to their plantations to tend their crops.

Reuters correspondents on the island said the eruption appeared to have calmed from around 1000 GMT and no lava was being expelled from the crater, though smoke continued to billow out.

(Writing by Nathan Allen, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Lava, smoke and ash cover La Palma as volcano threatens banana crop

By Nacho Doce and Marco Trujillo

LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -Jets of red hot lava shot into the sky on Spain’s La Palma on Thursday as a huge cloud of toxic ash drifted from the Cumbre Vieja volcano toward the mainland and jeopardized the island’s economically crucial banana crops.

Walls of lava, which turns black when exposed to the air, have advanced slowly westward since Sunday, engulfing everything in their path, including houses, schools and some banana plantations.

Farmers near the town of Todoque raced to save as much as possible of their crop, piling their trucks high with sacks of the green bananas, on which many of the islanders depend for their livelihood.

“We’re just trying to take everything we can,” said a farmer who gave his name as Roberto from the window of his pickup.

Some 15% of La Palma’s 140 million kilogram annual banana production could be at risk if farmers are unable to access plantations and tend to their crops, Sergio Caceres, manager of producer’s association Asprocan, told Reuters.

“There is the main tragedy of destroyed houses — many of those affected are banana producers or employees — but their livelihood is further down the hill,” he said. “Some farms have already been covered.”

Caceres said the farmers were already suffering losses and warned that if lava pollutes the water supply it could potentially cause problems for months to come.

The island produces around a quarter of the Canary Islands’ renowned bananas, which hold protected designation of origin status.

With more than 200 houses destroyed and thousands of evacuated people unable to return home, the Canary Islands’ regional government said it would buy two housing developments with a combined 73 properties for those made homeless. Spanish banks jointly announced they would offer vacant homes they hold across the Canaries as emergency shelter.

Property portal Idealista estimated the volcano had so far destroyed property worth around 87 million euros ($102 million).

Experts had originally predicted the lava would hit the Atlantic Ocean late on Monday but its descent has slowed to a glacial pace of around 4 meters per hour and authorities say it may stop before reaching the sea.

Volcanologists have said gases from the eruption are not harmful to health. But a plume of thick cloud now extends some 4.2 km (2.6 miles) into the air, raising concerns of visibility for flights. The airport remains open but authorities have created two exclusion zones where only authorized aircrafts can fly.

Prevailing winds are expected to propel the cloud northeast over the rest of the Canary archipelago, the Iberian peninsula and the Mediterranean, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

National weather service AEMET said air quality had not been affected at surface level and ruled out acid rain falling over the mainland or the Balearic Islands and was even unlikely in Canary islands.

Local authorities have warned people to clean food and clothes to avoid ingesting the toxic ash.

(Reporting by Borja Suarez, Marco Trujillo, Nacho Doce, Jesus Aguado, Inti Landauro and Emma Pinedo; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Giles Elgood, Peter Graff and Raissa Kasolowsky)

‘All we can do is cry’ – La Palma volcano leaves trail of devastation

By Borja Suarez and Marco Trujillo

LA PALMA, Spain (Reuters) -Lava flowed from an erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma for a fourth day on Wednesday, forcing more people to evacuate their homes and blanketing towns in ash, while residents struggled to come to terms with the destruction.

“All we can do is cry. We are a small business, we live off all these people who have lost everything,” said Lorena, 30, who works in a jewelers in the small town of Los Llanos de Aridane.

Since erupting on Sunday, lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has destroyed at least 150 houses and forced thousands of people to flee, mostly in Los Llanos de Aridane and nearby El Paso.

Holding back tears as she swept away a thick layer of ash from the street outside her store, Nancy Ferreiro, the jewelry shop owner, said: “There are no words to explain this feeling.”

Less than 5 km (3 miles) to the south, in Todoque, forked tongues of black lava advanced slowly westward, incinerating everything in their path, including houses, schools and the banana plantations that produce the island’s biggest export.

Emergency services tried to redirect the lava towards a gorge in an effort to minimize damage but had little success.

“Faced with the column of advancing lava … nothing can be done,” regional leader Angel Victor Torres told a news conference, adding that the flow had slowed to a crawl.

Miguel Angel Morcuende, technical director of the Pevolca eruption taskforce, said the lava’s speed had reduced so much that it might not reach the sea.

Experts had originally predicted it would hit the Atlantic Ocean late on Monday, potentially causing explosions and sending out clouds of toxic gases. Marine authorities are keeping a two nautical mile area in the sea closed as a precaution.

Morcuende said for now there was no indication that gases released by the eruption were damaging to human health.

People from the El Paso neighborhood of Jerey were ordered to evacuate on Wednesday as the lava crept close to their homes.

About 6,000 of La Palma’s population of 80,000 have been evacuated since Sunday. Some were allowed back briefly to recover belongings.

Property portal Idealista estimated the volcano had caused around 87 million euros ($102 million) in property destruction so far.

Late on Tuesday, the Canary Islands’ volcanology institute said the scale of seismic activity within the volcano was intensifying.

Drone footage captured towers of magma bursting high into the air, spraying debris onto the flanks of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

No fatalities or injuries have been reported

(Reporting by Borja Suarez, Marco Trujillo, Nacho Doce, Emma Pinedo, Clara-Laeila Laudette and Inti Landauro; Writing by Nathan Allen and Inti Landauro; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Philippine volcano shows signs of calming, but danger remains

By Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) – A Philippine volcano that has been spewing ash for days appeared to be calming down on Thursday, but seismologists said the danger of an eruption remained high and authorities warned evacuees not to return to their homes.

Some residents took advantage of what they perceived as a lull in the activity of Taal, one of country’s most active and deadliest volcanoes, to return home even though a 14 kms (nine mile) exclusion zone remained in place.

“We are analyzing what this seeming calm of the volcano means,” Maria Antonia Bornas, chief science research specialist at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), told reporters.

The lake inside Taal has dried up, Bornas said, which was to be expected since it began spewing lava fountains a day after it shot giant clouds of ash miles into the air on Sunday.

Phivolcs said volcanic activity had “generally waned to weak emission of steam-laden plumes”. Even so, it had recorded more than 100 tremors since Wednesday, meaning magma was still rising.

More than 53,000 residents have abandoned their homes around Taal to take shelter in evacuation centers, but thousands more are refusing to leave or have already drifted back to check on their animals and possessions.

Power has been restored in some areas in nearby Tagaytay city where business owners were cleaning away the ash and preparing to start trading again.

Although Taal is one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes at only 311 meters (1,020 feet) high, it can be deadly. One eruption killed more than 1,300 people in 1911.

Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past five centuries, with the most recent in 1977. The Philippines lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes.

(Additional reporting by Jay Ereno in Cavite; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Philippines struggles to evacuate reluctant villagers near volcano

By Karen Lema

MANILA (Reuters) – Nearly 40,000 people have been evacuated from near a Philippine volcano that could erupt violently at any moment, authorities said on Tuesday, but thousands more are refusing to leave or have already drifted back.

A cloud of ash and fountains of lava gushed for a third day from the crater of Taal, which lies in the middle of a lake about 70 km (45 miles) south of the center of the Philippines capital Manila.

Everyone living within 14 km (9 miles) of the volcano has been ordered to leave: potentially as many as 300,000 people, though disaster agency spokesman Mark Timbal said he believed the actual number who had been there was much lower.

Officially, 38,200 have now been evacuated, the agency said.

The Taal Volcano spews ash as it continues to errupt in Tagaytay City, Philippines, January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Local officials complained that many others were complicating the evacuation effort by staying put.

“I had to put Talisay under lockdown to prevent residents, who were already in the evacuation centers from returning,” said Gerry Natanauan, mayor of one town that is well within the danger zone of the 311 meter (1,020-foot) volcano.

“They wanted to check their homes, possessions and animals, but they’re not supposed to do that because it is very dangerous.”

Although Taal is one of the world’s smallest active volcanoes, it has a deadly history: an eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,300 people.

Several new fissures have opened, emitting plumes of steam, while dozens of tremors were felt as far as in Tagaytay city, a popular tourist destination 32 km (20 miles) away.

RISK OF DEVASTATION

If an eruption happened, nobody would be able to return to their homes because they would be devastated, said Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvocs).

“The threat is really real,” he told a media briefing.

However, many refused to heed the warnings.

In part of Balete town, which sits on the edge of the danger zone, Red Cross trucks were sent to bring out 1,000 residents, but they left with only 130 because people thought they were far enough from the volcano, local authorities said.

No casualties have been reported so far, and seismologists said there was a chance this eruption could subside, but the signs still point to an imminent explosion.

Visiting the area on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte joked that the government could try a traditional way to calm the volcano down.

“You should go there and, you know, say a little prayer and offer something. Let’s go by the primitive way of doing it just like what our forefathers would do,” he was quoted as saying by the Inquirer.Net website.

Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past five centuries, most recently in 1977. A 1754 eruption lasted for months. The Philippines lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes.

In Manila, government offices reopened on Tuesday after being closed on Monday because of a fine layer of ash that drifted from the volcano, but schools remained shut and many people still wore face masks.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Alex Richardson)

Volcano erupts on Italian island of Stromboli, kills one person

Ash rises after a volcano eruption in Stromboli, Italy, July 3, 2019 in this image obtained from social media. Gernot Werner Gruber via REUTERS

By Angelo Amante

ROME (Reuters) – A volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli erupted on Wednesday, releasing hot trapped magma in a powerful explosion, killing one person and enveloping the popular tourist destination in ash, witnesses and local officials said.

The person, believed to be a tourist, was killed by falling stones during a walk, a rescue service official said. A second person was injured.

Ash rises after a volcano eruption in Stromboli, Italy, July 3, 2019 in this still image obtained from a social media video. Gernot Werner Gruber via REUTERS

Ash rises after a volcano eruption in Stromboli, Italy, July 3, 2019 in this still image obtained from a social media video. Gernot Werner Gruber via REUTERS

The unexpected eruption started fires on the western side of the small Mediterranean island, which lies north of Sicily, off the toe of Italy. Fire crews were being called in from nearby locations and a Canadair plane was already in action.

“We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar,” said Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Fico Grande, on the east side of the island.

“We plugged our ears and after this a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud,” she told Reuters.

Fiona Carter, a British tourist on the island of Panarea, some 27 km (17 miles) from Stromboli, heard the blast.

“We turned around to see a mushroom cloud coming from Stromboli. Everyone was in shock. Then red hot lava started running down the mountain towards the little village of Ginostra,” she told Reuters.

“The cloud got bigger, white and gray. It enveloped Ginostra and now the cloud has covered Stromboli entirely. Several boats set off for Stromboli,” she added.

Stefano Branca, an expert with the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV), said there had been a “paroxysmal eruption” on the island, when high-pressure magma explodes from a shallow, underground reservoir.

“These are events of great intensity and quite rare,” he told Reuters.

Tourists often climb to the 924-metre (3,000-foot) summit of the volcano and peer into its crater, with small puffs of molten rock regularly blasted into the sky. It was not clear if anyone was on the crater at the time of the blast.

According to the geology.com website, Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and has been erupting almost continuously since 1932.

The island was the setting for a 1950 movie starring Ingrid Bergman and, with other islands in the Aeolian archipelago, has become a favorite location in recent decades for holiday homes for the rich and famous.

(Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Hugh Lawson, Frances Kerry and Peter Graff)

Papua New Guinea volcanic eruptions force 15,000 from their homes

FILE PHOTO - Ash billows from Mount Ulawun during a volcanic eruption, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea June 26, 2019 in this still image taken from social media video. Eroli Tamara via REUTERS

By Alison Bevege

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Volcanic eruptions in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have forced 15,000 villagers in the country’s northeast to flee their homes, aid agencies said on Sunday.

Mount Ulawun on PNG’s northeastern island of New Britain exploded suddenly on Wednesday, shooting an ash column 18 km (11.18 miles) into the air, while nearby Manam erupted on Friday, sending dangerous pyroclastic flows down its slopes.

There were no reported casualties but the eruptions destroyed homes, plantations and wells, leaving villagers without food and water while ash columns disrupted domestic flights.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said as of Sunday, 3,775 people had fled the Manam eruption and 11,047 people from the Mount Ulawun eruption and taken shelter in refugee centers.

Volcanic ash has blanketed the area with tiny glass-like particles that can permanently damage the lungs, leading to sickness or death.

Leo Mapmani of the West New Britain Provincial Disaster Centre said health risks from the ash falls meant people were unable to return to their homes while the dust would damage food crops if rains did not wash it off soon.

“If it is on the hilltops and the treetops and the wind blows, people will inhale it,” he told Reuters by telephone from West New Britain’s provincial capital of Kimbe.

Manam Island resident Jordan Sauba told local media his house was destroyed by ash and stones.

“We had nowhere to go so we went under the house and hid there for at least eight hours,” he said from Manam Island.

PNG Red Cross, provincial governments, provincial disaster centers and the Salvation Army have taken emergency supplies to the shelters, IFRC PNG head Udaya Regmi told Reuters on Sunday.

It was unclear when villagers would be able to return to their homes, he said.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape visited the Ulawun refuge shelters in West New Britain province on Sunday. Marape had previously said he would send the defense force to help.

Steve Saunders, principal geodetic surveyor at the Rabaul Volcano Observatory told Reuters that Manam was expected to continue to erupt with active lava flows from the summit to the sea.

“Satellites are monitoring the gas and temperatures and we’re monitoring deformation to see if we have any uplift,” he said.

(Reporting by Alison Bevege; Editing by Sam Holmes)

 

Indonesia searches for survivors after volcano triggers deadly tsunami

Rescue team members search for victims among debris after a tsunami hit at Rajabasa district in South Lampung, Indonesia, December 23, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Ardiansyah/ via REUTERS

By Fergus Jensen

LABUAN, Indonesia (Reuters) – Indonesian military and rescue teams fanned out across a stretch of coastline on Monday, hoping to find survivors of a tsunami triggered by an underwater landslide from a volcano that has been erupting for months.

Authorities called for vigilance amid the spewing of ash by Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island where a crater collapse late on Saturday together with a high tide set off waves that smashed into coastal areas, killing at least 281 people.

Rescuers using heavy machinery and their bare hands searched through debris, pulling out bodies in the worst-affected areas on the west coast of Java island, where and hundreds of soldiers and volunteers looked for victims along a 100 km (60 mile) stretch of shore.

More than 1,000 people were injured and about 12,000 residents had to move to higher ground, with a high-tide warning extended to Wednesday.

The vast archipelago, which sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, has suffered its worst annual death toll from disasters in more than a decade.

Earthquakes flattened parts of the island of Lombok in July and August, and a double quake-and-tsunami killed more than 2,000 people on a remote part of Sulawesi island in September.

President Joko Widodo visited the affected area on Monday and praised the authorities for swift action in responding to the latest disaster.

“The speed and accuracy in the field is to be appreciated,” he said.

Saturday’s tsunami came with almost no warning and destroyed more than 700 buildings, from small shops and houses to villas and hotels. The time between the landslide and waves hitting the coast was just 24 minutes.

Dented vehicles were crushed together by a wave that carried chunks of metal, felled trees and left roof tiles, wooden beams and household items strewn across roads. Some cars ended up in rice fields.

Nurjana, 20, dashed to the mountains after the tsunami hit. Her beachside snack stall was washed away.

“I opened the door straight away and saved myself. I jumped over the wall,” she told Reuters.

“Everything is destroyed.”

HEIGHTENED ACTIVITY

Aerial video footage of the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra showed Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) still erupting on Sunday night, with sustained bursts of white smoke and ash filling the sky.

The meteorology agency estimated the collapsed area of the volcanic island, once known as Krakatoa, was about 64 hectares, or the size of 90 soccer fields.

Scientists had earlier said an underwater landslide was the likely cause.

Krakatau erupted in 1883 killing more than 36,000 people in a series of tsunamis. Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area in 1927 and has been growing ever since.

The high waves isolated hundreds of people on Sebesi island, about 12 km from the volcano.

A man carries a chicken as he searches for belonging at his house hit by the tsunami in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A man carries a chicken as he searches for belonging at his house hit by the tsunami in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

“We are completely paralyzed,” Syamsiar, a village secretary on the island, told Metro TV, calling for food and medicine.

Widodo, who is running for re-election in April, told disaster agencies to install early warning systems, but experts said that unlike with tsunami caused by earthquakes, little could have been done to alert people that waves were coming.

“Tsunamis from volcanic flank collapse are generated right at the coast and often close to populations,” said Eddie Dempsey, lecturer in structural geology at Britain’s University of Hull.

“The interval between the volcanic collapse and the arrival of the waves is minimal.”

The timing of the disaster over the Christmas season evoked memories of the Indian Ocean tsunami triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, which killed 226,000 people in 14 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Families streamed out of the area on Monday for fear of further tsunami, jamming roads already blocked by debris.

Fishermen told how a light breeze was followed by a huge wave that smashed together wooden fishing boats moored off the coast and pulled down the trees they were tied to.

A teenage boy cries after finding his relatives among the ruins of his house which was hit by the tsunami in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A teenage boy cries after finding his relatives among the ruins of his house which was hit by the tsunami in Pandeglang, Banten province, Indonesia, December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

TANGLED WRECKAGE

Excavators were being used to move debris and wreckage, including piles of steel roofing tangled like spaghetti. Medics were sent in with the military, while groups of police and soldiers reached remote areas.

A team of volunteers who worked on disasters in Lombok and Palu pulled bodies out of damaged beachside retreats.

“This year has been pretty busy. The disasters have been more severe,” said Muhammad Idris, who led the team.

Television footage showed how the tsunami washed away an outdoor stage where Indonesian rock band Seventeen was performing for about 200 guests at a party for utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).

Forty-one PLN employees and their relatives died. At least four band members and support crew were killed, lead singer Riefian “Ifan” Fajarsyah told followers in a tearful Instagram account.

Cici Paramita, 27, remembers hearing volcanic eruptions on Saturday afternoon, as she in front of her house about 50 meters back from the beach but said they were “not unusual”.

But then she heard an “extraordinary” rumbling.

She dashed inside to save her year-old baby and later found her other child, 8, alive among the wreckage outside.

“I was afraid for my life,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Johan Purnomo and Adi Kurniawan in PANDEGLANG and Fanny Potkin, Tabita Diela and Wilda Asmarni in JAKARTA; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Martin Petty; Editing by Paul Tait)

Volcano on Indonesian island of Bali hurls out ash and lava

Mount Agung volcano erupts in Bali, Indonesia, July 2, 2018 photo obtained from social media.

DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) – A volcano on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali erupted late on Monday, hurling lava and ash kilometers into the air and prompting panicked residents to flee their homes. Mount Agung in northeast Bali has been rumbling since late last year and on Friday there was a temporary closure of the island’s international airport, disrupting flights and stranding thousands of travelers.

Mount Agung volcano erupts during the night, as seen from Bugbug village in Karangasem regency in Bali, Indonesia, July 2, 2018. Picture taken July 2, 2018. Andre Ardiansyah/Handout via REUTERS

Mount Agung volcano erupts during the night, as seen from Bugbug village in Karangasem regency in Bali, Indonesia, July 2, 2018. Picture taken July 2, 2018. Andre Ardiansyah/Handout via REUTERS

Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency said residents heard a loud explosion and saw flaming volcanic rocks thrown at least 2 km (1.2 miles) out of the crater. The eruption lasted for about seven minutes and photographs posted by the agency showed glowing lava streaming from the crater, setting fire to vegetation. “Residents have started evacuating voluntarily,” said Sutopo Nugroho, a spokesman for the agency, adding the airport remained operational and there was no change in the volcano’s alert status.The last time Agung staged a major eruption was in 1963, when more than 1,000 people died and several villages on its slopes were razed.

The airport on Bali reopened on Friday after ash had forced a brief closure and the cancellation of more than 300 flights.

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Ed Davies and Andrew Roche)

Guatemala ends victim searches at volcano where 110 died

Eva Ascon, is embraced by a family member as rescue workers search for her rest of her family at the affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

By Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemala on Sunday ended its victim search efforts in the zone that suffered most deaths and injuries from the Fuego volcano eruption, its disaster agency said.

At least 110 people died and 197 are still missing after violent eruptions that began two weeks ago, according to disaster agency CONRED.

Eva Ascon, looks on next to rescue workers as they search for her rest of her family at the affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla Guatemala June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Eva Ascon, looks on next to rescue workers as they search for her rest of her family at the affected by the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla Guatemala June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

“The search efforts are permanently suspended in the towns San Miguel Los Lotes and El Rodeo in the Escuintla municipality… the zone is uninhabitable and high risk,” CONRED said in a statement on Sunday.

The Fuego volcano, whose name means “Fire” in Spanish, is emitting four or five minor explosions daily and shooting columns of ash up to 15,420 feet (4,700 meters) above sea level, CONRED said.

Escuintla is operating 12 shelters for nearly 2,800 people displaced from homes that were swallowed by ash and dirt, while more than 770 people are staying in shelters in nearby areas.

Some survivors lost nearly all members of extended families after the volcano sent fast-moving currents of dust, lava and gas down its slopes in its greatest eruption in four decades.

(Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; editing by Diane Craft)