Guatemala declares yellow alert for high activity of the Pacaya volcano

The Guatemalan authorities declared a yellow alert (prevention) for air navigation on Tuesday, due to the high activity of the Pacaya volcano, located in the center of the country.

The General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC) detailed in its communication channels that this measure was decided because the ash remnants released by the colossus are found in the environment in the northwest and west of the territory, at a height of 3,352.8 meters and represent a risk to aircraft.

According to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh), the Pacaya volcano maintains weak and moderate explosions this Tuesday and the incandescence reaches 150 meters high above its crater.

Authorities prepare their evacuation plan

A thick column of ash from the volcano is dispersed 3.5 kilometers to the northwest and fall of this material has been reported in the surrounding communities, while the lava flow continues towards the south, the entity explained in a statement.

The Pacaya volcano is located 50 kilometers south of Guatemala City, between the departments of Guatemala and Escuintla, with a height of 2,552 meters above sea level.

Colossus cone activity is considered high at this time, according to the Insivumeh.

Since last weekend, according to the scientific entity, communication has been maintained with the departmental delegates, community and municipal leaders of the departments of Guatemala and Escuintla to have the response plan ready for any eventuality.

Insivumeh recommends to the civil protection authorities that they warn the population, that they review their family plan of response to any emergency and if necessary evacuate families from nearby places to shelters, but taking COVID-prevention measures. 19.

An untamed natural beast

The Pacaya volcano is one of the most active of the 32 cones that the Central American country has. The others are Fuego, which is located between the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla and Chimaltenango, and Santiaguito, which is in Quetzaltenango (west).

According to the authorities, the Pacaya has increased its strombolian activity in recent days and on some occasions its explosions are strong and the ash travels at a distance of up to 66 kilometers from its crater.

The records of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, indicated recent increases in activity of the Pacaya volcano on January 1 of this year and also in October and November 2020.

The last major eruption of a volcano in Guatemala happened on June 3, 2018, when the Fuego volcano took the lives of 431 people, of which 239 their bodies were not found.