Global News

Weather and danger hindering search-and-rescue efforts around Guatemala volcano

Weather and danger hindering search-and-rescue efforts around Guatemala volcano

At least 99 people have been killed and almost 200 are missing after the Volcano of Fire erupted in Guatemala over the weekend.

The director of Guatemala's National Institute of Forensic Science Fanuel Garcia announced the new death toll to local media. So far officials have identified about a third of the bodies recovered.

The current eruption is the biggest for the Fuego volcano in four decades, and it is Guatemala's deadliest since 1902.

"The our bodies are already charred", the 59-year-old truck driver stated. "The soil is unstable", said Pablo Castillo, a spokesman for national police.

More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from villages near the volcano and authorities fear the death toll may climb as the entire communities remain unaccounted for.

Fuego, meaning "fire" in Spanish, is one of the most active volcanos in Central America.

A firefighter is seen while he is searching along with other firefighters for their missing colleague in the area affected by the volcanic eruption in Alotenango, Guatemala.

On Tuesday, Fuego volcano erupted again, unleashing a new flow of risky volcanic material.




Traffic came to a standstill on choked roads and many without vehicles fled on foot, even from the city of Escuintla, which is located about 15 kilometres from the volcano and was not under an evacuation order.

Guatemalans across the country have donated supplies and volunteers reached out to those in need.

Firefighters hosed down their smoking boots, which had sunk into molten volcanic material just below the ash surface.

The country's seismology and volcanology institute warned of new flows descending Wednesday afternoon through canyons on the volcano's western slope toward the Pantaleon River.

The threat of more eruptions continues, as the number of people evacuated has risen to more than 12,000. Associated Press photojournalist Moises Castillo contributed from San Miguel Los Lotes.

An elderly man, who was featured in a video shortly after the eruption that showed him in a state of shock, caked from head to toe in ash and mud, died from the severe burns he suffered.

Officials are crossing-checking census data with aerial photos of homes, registers of people in shelters and lists of the missing and injured, Cabanas said.

Rescuers are now waiting for authorities to declare whether it is safe or not to resume searching for any survivors or bodies.


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