At least 25 are dead and hundreds wounded after an explosive eruption of Guatemala’s Fuego volcano Sunday. It was the most devastating eruption the nation had seen since 1974. With entire regions unreachable currently, the death toll is expected to rise.
Mere weeks after the eruption of Kilauea wreaked havoc on Hawaii’s Big Island, destroying numerous homes, Guatemalans are now facing their own very sudden, and potentially even more violent volcanic disaster. Fuego is located about 25 miles southwest of Guatemala City, which has already been affected by ash from the eruption, which spewed nearly 6 miles into the air. One local village, El Rodeo, was reportedly struck by a river of lava that wiped out houses before residents could escape. Other villages may have suffered similar fates. In all, over 3000 people have been evacuated, and nearly 2 million may be impacted by the effects of the volcano across the country.
Unlike Hawaii’s recent eruption, the Guatemalan event Sunday produced huge pyroclastic flows–massive avalanches of superheated ash, rocks, toxic gas, and debris that can reach hundreds of degrees and travel at jet speeds. Such flows can be the deadliest aspects of volcanic activity–these were the lethal forces at Vesuvius that famously overwhelmed Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79, instantly killing thousands and entombing them in ash for centuries. Multiple videos online Sunday showed Guatemalan citizens fleeing the rapidly approaching clouds on foot or in vehicles speeding to elusive safety. If Mercy maintains moderate casualty numbers, the most critical element in the story will no doubt be low population densities in the path of the pyroclastic flows–hopefully.
Pray. Pray for mercy on the people of Guatemala. For healing, for comfort, and for salvation.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. – Rom 8:19-24a (ESV)
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