Lava from Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano flowing into communities

People stand on the edge of slowly moving lava coming from the Pacaya volcano near El Patrocinio village. Photograph: Moisés Castillo/AP

Since February, lava from the Pacaya volcano in Guatemala has been sinisterly flowing towards small communities around the volcano.

The lava is just two and a half blocks away the community of San José el Rodeo and the residents there are scared.

“These last three days the lava stopped; we hope it stays there,” Emma Quezada, a 38-year-old resident told the news outlet.

And although local authorities have warned residents of the communities to relocate, they are not willing to.

“As if you’re going to go from here to a little piece of land!” she Quezada. “Maybe we don’t have a great thing here, but we live in blessed peace, we don’t face any other danger, not even thieves … The options they give you don’t compare with what we have here.”

The Pacaya volcano rises 8,372ft (2,552 meters) between the departments of Guatemala and Escuintla, south of the capital. It is a popular tourist destination and 21 communities surround it.

A chasm opened two months ago in one of the volcano’s flanks and lava began to flow, now stretching at least three miles (5km). At the same time, ash and gases spewed from its crater.

And even if the lava doesn’t reach their homes, the ash has damaged their corn crops and the pastures where their cows graze.