Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Search continues as Guatemala toll rises to 72

Search continues as Guatemala toll rises to 72 Search continues as Guatemala toll rises to 72
Patty Aguilar | 08 June, 2018, 15:58

People of the villages skirting Guatemala's Volcano of Fire have begun mourning the few dead who could be identified after an eruption killed dozens by engulfing them in floods of searing ash and mud.

It is expected that some of the missing are among the unidentified bodies, Cabanas said, according to ABC News.

Drivers make their way through a light rain of volcanic ash, as the Volcan de Fuego erupts, in Guatemala City, Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Volcan de Fuego ("Volcano of Fire") erupted earlier this year, sending ash just over a mile into the sky back in February, the BBC reported.

Emergency services are working to find survivors after a searing cloud of debris hit El Rodeo and other towns on the volcano's slopes.

"We now have an accounting with names and towns where people have gone missing and we have a figure, which is 192 people who we have unaccounted for", Disaster Relief Agency chief Sergio Cabañas told the France-Presse news agency.

The prospects of finding any more survivors was poor, he said.

General Walter Sanchez, in charge of operations around the epicenter of the destruction near the village of El Rodeo, said the heat from the ash and hot sediment made rescue work hard.

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At a shelter for people displaced by the powerful volcanic eruption in Guatemala, student stylists are volunteering to give haircuts to people who were burned the day of the disaster.

People praised the police officers on Twitter for the rescue. In the murk created by the dust, police were using red ink to mark homes that had already been searched for bodies.

The official number of those missing now stands at 192, a preliminary figure because nobody knows how many people were on the mountain when El Fuego erupted on Sunday around midday.

The killer eruption was the Central American country's strongest in four decades.

In San Miguel Los Lotes, eight to ten feet of volcanic ash buried homes and people.

Thousands of people were affected by the volcanic eruption, with about 3,500 seeking refuge in shelters.

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

"It is very hard for us to identify them because some of the dead lost their features or their fingerprints" from the red-hot flows, said Fanuel Garcia, director of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences.

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