June 21, 2018

Volcano rescue disrupted in Guatemala

09 June 2018, 06:19 | Taylor George

'Volcan de Fuego' Becomes Most Violent Volcanic Eruption in More than a Century

Boris Rodriguez 24 who is searching for his wife cries after seeing the condition of his neighborhood destroyed by the erupting Volcan de Fuego

The agency said at least 70 people were killed by similar flows of searingly hot gases and ash on Sunday. Authorities have said the window is closing on the chances of finding anyone else alive in the devastation.

The National Forensic Sciences Agency said only 28 of the dead have been identified so far.

The death toll had stood at 75 late Tuesday.

The super-heated debris that buried victims Sunday left many bodies unrecognizable. Seven people from the First Baptist Church in Chipley are serving on a mission trip in the area and arrived on site Saturday.

It said the lahars could sweep down the mountain laden with concrete, rocks up to a meter (yard) in diameter and tree trunks.

The JDC said that it had "activated its emergency response network to contact both the Guatemalan Jewish community and other NGO partners to assess immediate needs and implement a response following the eruption of the volcano, which killed more than 70 people with almost 200 people still missing". The remains were wrapped in bags.

Officials said the volcanic eruption still presented a danger and could cause more mud and pyroclastic flows.

Authorities have not offered any estimate of how many people might still be missing.

Oscar Chavez trekked over a mountain with his father and younger brother to search for his brother Edgar, sister-in-law Sandra and 4-year-old nephew Josue in the hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, which was nearly entirely wiped out by the volcanic flows.

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Rescue teams in Guatemala are searching through debris and ash, looking for any survivors of a fiery volcano as the death toll continues to rise.

Rains are now hardening the ash on the surface, making it harder to dig out bodies.

"The bodies are already charred", the 59-year-old truck driver said. "And if heavy equipment is available in they are going to be torn aside". Among them is Alfonso Castillo, who now resides at a shelter located in the city of Escuintla. Some 46 people were injured, around half of whom are in serious condition, it said.

The Associated Press spoke with Lilian Hernandez, who has 36 family members missing and presumed dead - aunts, uncles, cousins, her grandmother and two great-grandchildren in the town of San Miguel Los Lotes. About 3,500 had been in shelters, many with their houses and livelihoods destroyed.

Despite offers of worldwide help from the United States, Mexico and several Latin American neighbours, Guatemalan authorities have not made a request for foreign aid.

"This can serve as a tiny bit of consolation for the people", Diaz said. Rescuers were also evacuated Tuesday.

Volcan de Fuego, or "Volcano of Fire", released a white plume of smoke as firefighters carried a stretcher during their rescue and recovery efforts in El Rodeo, Guatemala, today.

A rescue worker pauses amid the attempt to save people hurt or displaced in the eruption.

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