Guatemala volcano explodes again, evacuations ordered


Volcan de Fuego, which means "Volcano of Fire", exploded on Sunday in its most devastating eruption in more than four decades, showering ash on a wide area and sending rapid pyroclastic flows through nearby towns.

Almost 200 people are missing and at least 75 have been killed since Guatemala's Fuego volcano began erupting over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

At least 69 people are known dead and thousands have evacuated from their homes since those living near the volcano were not prepared for the eruption.

Just days after the eruption the volcano started to smoke again and the emergency services quickly moved everyone to safety.

Rescue workers say it is hard to imagine how anybody caught up in the churning clouds of volcanic material that reached up to 700 degrees centigrade could have survived.

"We come in support of the people who are really risking their lives for the people who are there", said Gladys Vian, a 56-year-old member of the Catholic parish of Escuintla.

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

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. There are many people who are helping us, but we have absolutely nothing.

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There are fears many more could be buried beneath volcanic ash and debris.

Rescuers, police and journalists hurried to leave the area as a siren wailed and loudspeakers blared, "Evacuate".

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

"We are not only talking about what has been described as the volcano's biggest eruption since 1974". DNA testing and other methods will be required to identify them.

Firefighters remove a burned body buried in volcanic ash in the disaster zone near the Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, in the El Rodeo hamlet of Escuintla, Guatemala, June 5, 2018.

The superheated flow of volcanic gases and mud sweeps along boulders and tree trunks.

In an open-air patio at the shelter, people displaced by the volcano sat on plastic chairs as student hair stylists gave them free haircuts.

"The conditions are extremely critical at this moment", Eddy Sanchez, director of Guatemala's National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology, said.