Guatemala volcano eruption: Charter activated

On Saturday evening 19 May 2012, the Volcano "Fuego" in Guatemala had a strong eruption, which led to the evacuation of some communities located on its foothills. The National Emergency Response Commission (CONRED) of Guatemala subsequently requested UN-SPIDER's support in facilitating the access to satellite imagery via its network. The International Charter Space and Major Disasters was eventually activated by the Argentina Civil Protection Agency (SIFEM) on behalf of CONRED on 21 May 2012.

The eruption of the 3.700 meters high volcano was one of its largest in recent years. Eruptions began at 2:45 a.m. with explosions and lava fountains up to 400 meters high. The eruption produces an ash column of almost 5000 meters height. Lava and ash prompted evacuations as well as flight restrictions. Authorities declared an "orange" alert after the volcano entered the phase of effusive eruption, throwing lava over 300 meters, and ash ejected more than 5000 meters. Ash continued to fall on Sunday, causing one road to be closed due to active lava flow. So far, there are no casualties or any major damage, but emergency services are preparing evacuation for nearby towns likely to be affected.