January 17, 2000
Guatemala volcano injures dozens, forces evacuation of thousands

                  From staff and wire reports

                  GUATEMALA CITY -- Emergency workers on Sunday were evacuating
                  residents from villages in the path of lava spewing from an erupting volcano
                  near Guatemala's capital city.

                  The volcano, known as Pacaya, is located close to the Aurora airport near
                  the town of San Vicente, about 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) from Guatemala
                  City. Pacaya erupted Sunday, sending lava, fire and ash thousands of feet
                  into the air, and forcing the evacuation of about 2,000 nearby residents,
                  according to freelance journalist Martin Asturias.

                  "Some people don't want to leave their homes," Asturias told CNN by
                  phone Sunday night.

                    Part of crater appears destroyed

                    Asturias said more than 50 people who close to the volcano when it erupted
                   had been burned or otherwise injured. Those people were evacuated immediately
                   and were treated by firemen and emergency services," Asturias said.

                   "We are evacuating people in local villages in case they get cut off," Adrian
                  Rivera, a firefighter said.

                  Experts at a local seismological station reported glowing lava flowing
                  south from the volcano toward the town of El Caracol. They said part
                  of the volcano's crater appeared to have been destroyed by its own eruption.

                  Luis Alberto Sanchez Flores, of the National Volcanologist Institute, said the
                  eruption was sending spurts of lava 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) into the air
                  and heavy winds were carrying flakes of ash as far as 48 kilometers (30
                  miles) south of the volcano.

                  Pacaya is most active of nation's volcanoes

                  Pacaya is the most active of Guatemala's 32 volcanoes, with three lava flows
                  formed by eruptions between 1989 and 1991.

                  In 1998, the volcano twice spewed up plumes of ash, forcing evacuations
                  and shutting down the airport in Guatemala City.

                  Mexico City Bureau Chief Harris Whitbeck, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed
                                          to this report.