Frightened people living near Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire fled with their children and few possessions when fresh flows of super-heated debris were announced on Tuesday.
Those living nearby were taking no chances after authorities gave them little time to evacuate before a deadly eruption over the weekend.
Businesses shut as owners fled, memories still fresh of Sunday’s blast, which left at least 75 people dead and 192 missing, and reduced a once verdant area to a moonscape of ash.
“You feel powerless,” she said. “I don’t know where I’m going to go. To leave my things, everything I have.”
But after seeing what happened on Sunday, she was afraid to stay.
The country’s seismology and vulcanology institute said the smoke billowing from the volcano’s top could produce a “curtain” of ash that could reach 20,000 feet (6,000 metres) above sea level, posing a danger to air traffic.
Rescuers, police and journalists hurried to leave the area as a siren wailed and loudspeakers blared: “Evacuate!”
“You have to be prepared, for the children,” he said.
When the panic set off by the new evacuations became clear, disaster officials called for calm.
In the community of Magnolia, which was under the new evacuation order, residents fled carrying bags of clothing and even small dogs in their arms.
By Tuesday, the images of Sunday’s destruction were familiar to everyone. What was once a collection of green canyons, hillsides and farms was reduced to grey devastation by fast-moving avalanches of super-heated muck that roared into the tightly knit villages on the mountain’s flanks.
A spokesman for Guatemala’s firefighters said that once it reaches 72 hours after the eruption, there will be little chance of finding anyone alive.