Guatemala Volcano: Death Toll Rises to 75, While 200 Still Missing


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IMG Source: cnn.com

“This eruption is been considered as one of the biggest eruption from the mountain in last four decades.”

 

GUATEMALA: The death toll from Guatemala’s Fuego volcano rose to at least 75 on Tuesday, with at least 192 missing, amid a new round of strong explosions that scattered ash over a wide area and forced authorities to issue new evacuation orders.

Towns were engulfed by thick, heavy ash from Sunday’s sudden eruption. Hot gases, rock and ash raced down the volcano, killing dozens, erasing hillside communities, blocking roads and leaving behind steaming debris that rescuers had trouble navigating.

The explosion took many by surprise after volcanologists said the eruption, which had sent ash up to 10km (33,000ft) into the sky on Sunday, was over for the near future. Moreover, this eruption is been considered as one of the biggest eruption from the mountain in last four decades.

Eddy Sanchez, the head of Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, had predicted “no imminent eruption over the next few days”.

 

‘Towns remain covered in thick ash’

Villages on the slopes of Fuego volcano were buried in volcanic ash, mud and rocks during Sunday’s 16-hour eruption.

However, three days after the volcano had exploded, several towns remain covered in thick ash and rescuers scramble navigating the steaming debris. At least 192 people remain missing and at least 75 have died, according to Sergio Cabañas, the executive secretary of Guatemala’s National Coordination for Disaster Reduction.

Only 23 victims have been identified, including two girls ages 3 and 6, Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences (INACIF) said in a statement.

‘A difficult rescue’

Firefighters and other recovery workers are facing some serious challenges while continuing their searches. The workers have had difficulty breathing in the hazardous conditions. And heat from the ground has been so intense that the soles of some firefighters’ boots were tearing off and they were having to walk on wooden planks.

 

 

Meanwhile, President Jimmy Morales advised all his country’s citizen to stay calm and to work together during the disaster.

“We would also like to ask for your patience because we need to ensure, not only the security of our rescue workers, but the integrity of those people who may still be alive,” Mr.Morales told reporters and rescue workers Monday in Escuintla.

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