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Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 12:09 GMT
Guatemala on volcano alert
Pacaya eruption
Patrocinio residents had an all-night show as Pacaya erupted
Guatemala has taken emergency measures in its capital after the Pacaya volcano, about 25 miles (40 km) to the south, spewed ash over nearby villages in its second eruption this year.

"We have had to declare a red alert," said Lizalberto Alfaro of the National Volcanologist Institute.

Soldiers had been sent to the site to help evacuate local villages after the eruption began, said national disaster coordinator Patricia Morales.

Evacuation

Authorities said 50 residents of Patrocinio village nearby had already been evacuated and residents of the village of San Vicente Pacaya were also being moved to safety.

Guatemala's airport, to the south of Guatemala City, remained open.

Pacaya last erupted on 16 January, forcing officials to evacuate three villages. On that occasion, there were no fatalities.
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30 Nov 98 |  World
The Earth's Ring of Fire
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