In volcano's wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Guatemalan authorities reacted slowly to signs of the Fuego volcano’s impending eruption on June 3, contributing to one of the most tragic natural disasters in recent Guatemalan history. The volcano rumbled to life early that day. By midday, it was spewing ash in smoking columns miles high that then fell, dusting a wide swath of the Central American country.

But with the mountain’s rumbles and the first ash showers, many villagers made a fatal bet to stay put, gambling that luck that had protected them for decades would hold once again. In the afternoon things took a turn for the worse. Tons of ash propelled by scalding, toxic gases poured down Fuego’s flanks.

At least 110 people have died and close to 200 are thought buried under the rubble in the hamlet on the fertile lower slopes of the volcano. (Reuters)

Photography by Carlos Jasso/Reuters

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<p>A terrace of a house is covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A terrace of a house is covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A house covered with ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A house covered with ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A car is seen covered in ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 10, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A car is seen covered in ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 10, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Onions are seen at a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Onions are seen at a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A shoe covered with ash lies inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A shoe covered with ash lies inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A kitchen of a house is covered in ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A kitchen of a house is covered in ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A bathroom covered with ash is seen inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A bathroom covered with ash is seen inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Toothbrushes are seen in a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Toothbrushes are seen in a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A blanket lies on a chair inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 10, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A blanket lies on a chair inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 10, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Wall decorations covered with ash hang in a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Wall decorations covered with ash hang in a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Clothes covered with ash hang on washing lines outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Clothes covered with ash hang on washing lines outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Kitchen shelves are covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Kitchen shelves are covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Pages of a burned Bible are seen in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Pages of a burned Bible are seen in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A car sunk in ash is seen in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A car sunk in ash is seen in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A dog walks past trees covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A dog walks past trees covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Wood covered with ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Wood covered with ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A radio covered with ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A radio covered with ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Books and a toy lie on the ground at a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Books and a toy lie on the ground at a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A window of a house is covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A window of a house is covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A guitar is seen on top of a roof of a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A guitar is seen on top of a roof of a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A burned tree covered with ash stands in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A burned tree covered with ash stands in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Volcanic rocks are spread around an area that got buried after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Volcanic rocks are spread around an area that got buried after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A dead cow is seen in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A dead cow is seen in an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A drum covered with ash lies outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A drum covered with ash lies outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>The roof of a house covered in ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

The roof of a house covered in ash is seen after the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A hammock covered with ash hangs afters the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A hammock covered with ash hangs afters the eruption of the Fuego volcano in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Banana leafs covered with ash are seen in the area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Banana leafs covered with ash are seen in the area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A bicycle covered with ash lies outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A bicycle covered with ash lies outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Car radios are covered in ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Car radios are covered in ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A toy covered with ash lies inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A toy covered with ash lies inside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 7, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A dead parakeet is seen outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A dead parakeet is seen outside a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>Toys covered with ash lie on top of a roof of a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

Toys covered with ash lie on top of a roof of a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A window of a house is covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A window of a house is covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

<p>A refrigerator lies inside a kitchen of a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters) </p>
In volcano’s wake, Guatemalan town became a cemetery

A refrigerator lies inside a kitchen of a house affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala, June 8, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

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