Guatemala’s most violent volcano eruption in more than a century has killed at least 25 people.
The Fuego volcano, about 40km (25 miles) south-west of the capital Guatemala City, spewed rock, gas and ash into the sky on Sunday.
Fast-moving flows hit villages, killing people inside their homes. Hundreds were injured and many are missing. The country’s main airport is closed.
President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning.
In a statement issued late on Sunday, he spoke of the nation’s “deep pain” caused by the “irreparable losses” in human lives.
Settlements on the southern slopes of Fuego were buried in the volcanic ash, mud and rocks as the volcano erupted for 16 and a half hours on Sunday.
Pyroclastic flows, which are fast-moving mixtures of gas and volcanic matter, rushed down the mountainside and engulfed villages.
Hundreds of police officers, soldiers and emergency workers have been sent to affected areas on the slopes of the volcano. They found charred bodies resting on steaming remnants of pyroclastic flow.
Survivors covered in ash were carried away.
Sergio Cabañas, head of the country’s National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), said the town of El Rodeo had been “buried”.
Other towns affected include Alotenango and San Miguel los Lotes. Rescuers are still trying to reach a number of villages and the death toll is expected to rise.
Temporary shelters have been set up for about 3,000 residents who have been evacuated. (Excerpt from BBC)