Sergio Cabanas of the National Disaster prevention committee spoke to Reuters and informed that people have been burned and killed including a member of his staff.
Guatemala City's worldwide airport reopened Monday after it was closed by falling ash from the eruption. However, the airport press office says each airline is free to make its own decision about whether to resume flights.
Guatemala's Volcan de Fuego - Volcano of Fire - erupted spectacularly Sunday, shooting a plume of ash and gas almost six miles into the sky and spreading ash and debris across towns and farms more than 10 miles away from the volcano. It's an example of one of the tallest and most violent types of volcanoes in the world, its steep sides made out of accumulated layers of lava and ash.
The director of the country's seismology and volcanology institute, Eddy Sanchez, said the lava had hit temperatures in the region of 700C.
Conred spokesman David de Leon said the volcano first erupted around midday Sunday, billowing smoke and ash miles into the sky.
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"The bigger issue with pyroclastic flows is they can be turned into volcanic mudflows (lahars) when the loose debris mixes with rain/river waters", he said.
Several children are among those confirmed dead.
Neighbors stand outside a temporary resting place for the dead near Volcan de Fuego or Volcano of Fire in Alotenango, Guatemala, Sunday, June 3, 2018. "I think they ended up buried", Consuelo Hernandez, an El Rodeo resident, told the Diario de Centroamerica newspaper. It is the deadliest eruption in Guatemala since 1902, when the Santa Maria volcano killed at least 5,000 people.
Rescue workers were hampered when roads were cut by the lava flows.
Workers told of finding bodies so thickly coated with ash they appeared to be statues.
Ash fell Sunday on Guatemala City as well as nearby areas.
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Hilda Lopez said the volcanic mud swept into her village of San Miguel Los Lotes, just below the mountain's flanks.
In another video, a visibly exhausted woman, her face blackened from ash, said she had narrowly escaped as lava poured through corn fields. "We didn't believe it, and when we went out the hot mud was already coming down the street".
A group of residents arrived at the scene of the lava flow Monday with shovels and work boots to help the search for survivors and victims.
Some locals said they never learned of the danger until it was upon them - and were critical of authorities. "If there are people buried, the lava came over the plots of land and streets". "The government is good at stealing, but when it comes to helping people, they lack spark". But there was no indication that any eruption would be any worse than previous ones, and no evacuations were ordered.
Rescue operations were suspended as of nightfall because conditions were too risky to continue, officials said.
The blast belched thick black smoke over an area extending all the way to the capital, Guatemala City, about 30 miles away.
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