Death toll rises to 99 at Guatemala volcano

Jun 07, 2018, 09:34
Death toll rises to 99 at Guatemala volcano

At least 75 people have died and almost 200 are missing in Guatemala after a second round of eruptions at Mount Fuego that scattered ash over a wide area and forced authorities to issue new evacuations.

The peak had its most devastating eruption in more than four decades on Sunday, showering ash on a wide area and sending lava flows through nearby towns.

Thousands of people displaced by the eruption have sought refuge in shelters, many of them of with dead or missing loved ones and facing an uncertain future, unable to return to homes destroyed by the volcano. Rubin says that when hot ash from a pyroclastic flow settles and mixes with a water source, like rain, it could lead to mud flows called Lahars.

Naomi Diaz of the Ciraiz Beauty Academy said they were moved to help because they saw people who had lost everything.

The Central American country's disaster and forensic agency Inacif on Wednesday afternoon raised the death toll to at least 99, up from 85.

Volcanic material was descending the mountain's south side, prompting an evacuation order and the closure of a nearby national highway, the AP reports. It was smothered in what he described as a "sea" of muck that came crashing into homes, inundating people, pets and wildlife. 192 more people are still missing.

National disaster agency CONRED ordered evacuations and said that hot gas and molten rock were streaming from the volcano.

Guatemalan authorities put the death toll at 69, but officials said just 17 had been identified so far because the intense heat of the volcanic debris flows left most bodies unrecognizable.

A baby buried under ash after a volcanic eruption has miraculously survived.

Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, blows outs a thick cloud of ash, as seen from Alotenango, Guatemala, June 3, 2018.

Everything in the search area is covered in a thick blanket of dust, with police having to use red ink to mark homes that had already been searched for bodies.

Authorities say at least 46 people were injured in the eruption, and 12 shelters were housing 1,877 people.

A soldier stands guard at a search and rescue site near the Volcan de Fuego, or 'Volcano of Fire, ' in Escuintla, Guatemala, Monday, June 4, 2018.

Pope Francis is mourning the victims of Guatemala's Volcano of Fire eruption and sending his prayers for their families and the rescue crews trying to help survivors.

The volcano has been in eruption since 2002.