Last Sunday, May 3, 2018, Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted, killing 69 people in nearby villages. As the eruption weakened, the ash cloud collapsed under its own weight and cascaded down the side of the volcano as a pyroclastic flow. These pyroclastic flows contain a high-density mix of hot lava blocks, pumice, ash and volcanic gas, which move very quickly down volcanic slopes. They can reach a speed of up to 700km/h (450mph) and are considered to be the most deadly volcanic event because they are impossible to outrun and can travel for miles. Volcanologists warn that while the eruption has seized for now, the danger is not yet over. If heavy rain were to fall on Fuego’s slopes, it could cause deadly mudslides carrying ash, boulders and debris down the mountainside. The Guatemalan authorities calculate that 1.7 million people have already been displaced by the eruption and large areas remain covered in ash.
When crises like this occurs, Maxar Technologies’ DigitalGlobe is committed to supporting the humanitarian community and fulfilling our purpose of Seeing a better world by providing critical and actionable information to assist response efforts. As part of our Open Data Program, DigitalGlobe will publicly release pre- and post-event imagery of the affected areas to support disaster response.
The most current DigitalGlobe imagery has been uploaded here:
We will continue to update this blog post and our social media feeds as more data becomes available.