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Guatemala reopens

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4 June 2010

A spokesman for The Guatemala Tourist Board (INGUAT) said no tourists were affected by the two natural disasters.

A 24-hour tourist helpline has been set up by the National Programme of Support to Tourists (ASISTUR).

The Guatemalan tourist board said thanks to the cooperation of the public and private sectors, communications were expected to be restored in the next few days in the areas of Solola, Sacatepequez, Totonicapan, Quetzaltenango, Escuintla and some areas of Guatemala City.

The board added La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City is expected to reopen on Wednesday, subject to weather conditions allowing the cleaning operations to rid the runway of volcanic ash.

According to Guatemala’s national institute for seismology and meteorology, the intensity of the volcanic eruption has diminished with only minor explosions reported.

However, local communities remain evacuated while the activity of the Pacaya volcano continues to be monitored.

The volcano coated parts of Guatemala City in ash, including the airport and many planes, with flights diverted to other parts of the country.

Tropical storm Agatha, which brought torrential rains that caused some river to swell and burst their banks and mudslides near major roads, has been downgraded to a tropical depression and continues to weaken.

More than 150,000 people were evacuated from their homes over the weekend, while 123 have been reported killed from the twin natural disasters.

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