Baby Rescued After Being Buried Alive Under Volcanic Ash


If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve probably heard about the devastating volcanic eruption in Guatemala. On June 3, 2018, the Volcán de Fuego, or “Volcano of Fire,” threw ash and rock miles high and toward nearby villages.

The villages near the volcano have suffered major damage while thousands of people have been evacuated and 69 people have been declared dead with the number expected to continue to rise.

The Guatemalan volcanic eruption has been so devastating due to a phenomenon called pyroclastic flow. While the rolling cloud of debris flowing from the volcano may just look like a cloud of ash, it is in fact much more dangerous than that.

Unlike eruptions that involve slow-moving lava flows, a pyroclastic flow is made up of fast-moving, high-temperature gas and solid rock. The pressure built up beneath the magma releases in a violent way much like a shaken bottle of soda.

Many are familiar with the devastation avalanches or rock slides can cause, but pyroclastic flows can move up to 50 miles per hour and the temperatures can rise up to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Janine Krippner, a volcanologist at Concord University, painted a picture of how catastrophic these clouds of rock and gas can be.

“The bottom is a jumble of chaotic rocks. It’s large boulders that are breaking up into smaller pieces. They can knock trees down like matchsticks and destroy houses. They can send cars flying. They’re incredibly dangerous,” he said.

The devastation experienced by nearby villages is absolutely heartbreaking. Residents have been buried and entire families have gone missing.

Rescuers are doing all they can to help find people and bring them to safety, but the environment is hindering their efforts. Smoke and ash impair breathing and the temperature of the ground is literally melting their shoes.

Mario Cifuentes, a volunteer firefighter, said, “It is very, very difficult due to the fact that it’s very, very hot. The soil is very unstable. We cannot be walking around … The shoes, they’ve been completely destroyed because of the heat.”

A Los Lotes resident told CNN, “My mother’s house was buried with my entire family inside … my three sons, two daughters and my grandson. My mother, my sisters, my nieces and nephews.”

But in the midst of the chaos, one ray of hope has shown through.

On June 4, 2018, just one day after the eruption, rescuers found a sweet, baby girl. The little girl is unharmed and was taken to safety by those that found her.

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It’s sometimes hard to hear about the devastation going on in the world, but if you look hard enough there are almost always stories like the one of this baby girl, stories that give us hope in seemingly hopeless situations.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Guatemala who continue to be affected by the volcanic eruption.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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