Guatemala volcano eruptions: Nearly 200 missing, 75 dead

Jun 07, 2018, 09:07 IST | Agencies

Guatemala releases official figures as a fresh eruption disrupts rescue work at the Fuego volcano

Guatemala volcano eruptions: Nearly 200 missing, 75 dead
Volcanologists say that pyroclastic flow — made up of pieces of rock, ash and hot gas — can vary in speed (up to 700 km/h) and is universally deadly and destructive. Pics/AFP and AP

Nearly 200 people are missing and at least 75 people were killed since Guatemala's Fuego volcano began erupting over the weekend, officials said yesterday. Seven communities in already devastated areas were evacuated as the volcano's activity increased, with rescue operations halted.

In the city of Escuintla, near the summit, panicked locals rushed to their cars to escape, causing chaotic traffic. Witnesses saw a large plume of ash rise into the sky, prompting an evacuation of everyone authorities could find before the police, the military and rescuers were stood down. And, a total of 192 people remain missing since the weekend eruptions, disaster relief agency chief Sergio Cabanas told reporters.

Authorities have evacuated more than 3,000 people
Authorities have evacuated more than 3,000 people

The search for bodies in mountain villages destroyed by the eruption was progressing slowly, officials said, given the nature of the terrain and the way the volcano released large amounts of boiling mud, rock and ash down the mountain.

Authorities have evacuated more than 3,000 people

"We will continue until we find the last victim, though we do not know how many there are. We will probe the area as many times as necessary," Cabanas said. However, the prospects of finding any more survivors was poor, he said. The latest of the 75 victims was a 42-year-old woman who died in hospital having lost both legs and an arm in the eruption. The 3,763-metre volcano erupted early Sunday, spewing out towering plumes of ash and a hail of fiery rock fragments with scalding mud.

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