Guatemala's Volcano of Fire erupts again, with 192 people still missing
Jun 07 2018
People of the villages skirting Guatemala's Volcano of Fire began mourning the few dead who could be identified after an eruption killed dozens by engulfing them in floods of searing ash and mud. Agency director Sergio Cabanas made the announcement Tuesday evening.
Guatemala's National Institute of Forensic Sciences raised the death toll Tuesday evening to 75.
Super-heated volcanic debris swept through small communities on the volcano's flanks Sunday with little warning for residents.
An elderly man, who was featured in a video shortly after the eruption that showed him in a state of shock, caked from head to toe in ash and mud, died from the severe burns he suffered.
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.
On Tuesday, strong explosions billowed ash up more than 5000 meters above sea level and the dust was blowing east and northeast.
A day after a new evacuation was ordered due to increasing activity by the volcano, a red alert remained in place for the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez and Chimaltenango, and people were advised not to linger near the affected zones.
Sunday's eruption was the most violent in more than a century.
Volcan de Fuego is one of the Central America's most active volcanos.
Only 28 have been identified so far, it said.
That eruption unleashed a rapid flow of gas and volcanic debris which quickly enveloped homes nearby, killing those inside.
At least 72 deaths have been reported since the volcano first erupted on Sunday, with many others missing. Only some communities in Escuintla are under an evacuation order, but even in the more distant central Escuintla businesses have closed and people are leaving.
Rather than releasing orange lava flows, Fuego instead released what is known as a pyroclastic flow: a mix of superheated rock, ash and toxic gases that can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius. It warns civil aviation authorities to closely monitor and take precautions regarding air traffic. Rescuers, police and journalists hurried to leave the area as a siren wailed and loudspeakers blared, "Evacuate!" At least 46 people have been injured.
Another key difference is the area around each volcano.
Thousands of people were affected by the volcanic eruption, with about 3,500 seeking refuge in shelters.
"We are not only talking about what has been described as the volcano's biggest eruption since 1974".
"Any type of disaster like this is a blow to people emotionally and everyone here loves their country", Wallace says.