Stark images capture the ash-strewn aftermath of volcano eruption

Inside a modern-day Pompeii: Stark images capture the ash-strewn aftermath of the huge Guatemala volcanic eruption

  • San Miguel Los Lotes has been showered in ash spewed out by Fuego volcano 
  • Eerie images show food left abandoned on tables as villagers fled for their lives
  • Volcano began to rumble on June 4 and 114 are confirmed to have died so far  

A Guatemalan village has been transformed into a modern-day Pompei after a volcano buried it in deep ash. 

San Miguel Los Lotes has been showered in debris spewed out by the country’s Fuego Volcano. 

Fuego began rumbling in the early morning of June 4 and, by midday, plumes of ash stretched into the sky. 

Pyroclastic flows then followed, bringing with them scalding, toxic gases and dragging trees and rocks into villages. 

Only the tops of these chairs are visible after being buried deep in volcanic ash during Fuego’s eruption on June 4

An ash-coated pan and wooden spoon on a stovetop inside a home covered in volcanic ash spewed from the Volcan de Fuego

Homes in surrounding villages were quickly abandoned as pyroclastic flows encroached. Pictured: The eerie scene of a rocking horse in a child’s former bedroom

Kitchen utensils hanging above posters promoting the Mayan ruins Tikal and the Mirador de la Cruz, dusted with volcanic ash spewed by the Volcan de Fuego

Sunday meals were left abandoned and food strewn across tables as villagers left the homes to escape the volcano 

A  child’s pair of rain boots caked with volcanic ash. The eruption unfolded so rapidly that villagers could only run

Police officers observe a lahar flowing down from the Fuego volcano at El Rodeo in Escuintla, Guatemala June 8

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The eruption unfolded so rapidly that many villagers could only run by the time the flows arrived. 

Eerie scenes that followed showed abandoned Sunday lunches and food left on tables.  

Forty-nine-year-old Elmer Vazquez was one of those out walking on the day of the eruption, looking at his garden plots, when he heard the first explosion from the Volcano of Fire at 1 p.m.

At that hour, his wife would be back at the house cooking lunch for when he returned, and their five children would be at home too, finishing their homework for Monday’s classes.

But all that was to end in a huge wall of hot ash that was descending the mountain; Vazquez tried to get back home, without success.

Pyroclastic brought with them scalding, toxic gases and dragging trees and rocks into villages

a tube of toothpaste and toothbrush coated with volcanic ash during the eruption 

Empty Pepsi bottles sit completely covered in volcanic ash after Fuego began rumbling on June 4 

Many villagers made a hasty retreat when Fuego began to stir, leaving behind nearly all of their belongings

Clothes hung outside to dry remain more than a week after the eruption in the central American country 

The town was quickly buried under a wave of hot ash, rocks and debris, creating a scene of death and desperation.

But strangely, some signs of that calm Sunday morning were frozen in time under the ash.

In one house, a skillet and spatula are still posed on a stove, now filled with ash.

The remains of a typical breakfast in rural Guatemala – a basket of tortillas, a bowl of beans, mugs of coffee – are still laid out on a table, all covered with dark, gritty volcanic ash.

A bicycle, a truck, a fan, beds, chairs, refrigerators, a stove – all buried under ash, which in some places drifted 10ft deep. 

In other places, such as inside some more protected homes, the blanket of ash can range from a few inche to a foot or two.

The traces of the inhabitants – a toothbrush left out, or hanging baskets of plants – speak of people who will never come back. 

 

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