Friday, 21 September, 2018

Guatemala volcano death toll rises to 99

Funeral procession EPAFunerals have begun for the 99 confirmed dead so far
Melinda Barton | 10 June, 2018, 04:15

Fuego volcano exploded around noon on Sunday, affecting more than 1.7 million people.

A resident cries after she was safely evacuated from her home near the Volcan de Fuego, or "Volcano of Fire", in Escuintla, Guatemala, Monday, June 4, 2018. The church has a mission in nearby Antigua, where church officials have been sending truckloads of supplies.

The suspension may be lifted if conditions on the ground improve, he added. It is not right that they leave them there.

Authorities in Guatemala are evaluating whether it's safe to resume the search for survivors and the dead on the third day after a volcanic eruption devastated several small towns. "We could not get anything out", Castillo said. The official death toll is 99 with almost 200 still missing.

Rains have been hitting the area and the agency says climatic conditions as well as the still-hot volcanic material deposited on the villages makes it unsafe for the rescuers. But late in the afternoon, the country's disaster agency announced it was suspending the search again because of flows of volcanic material and falling rain. That's the length of time officials had said earlier that some victims might have survived.

It sent huge clouds of ash barreling over the surrounding area, blanketing roads, cars and people in thick gray dust as a river of molten mud carved a path down the mountain, sweeping away entire villages.

Fuego, or "Fire" in Spanish, lies about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, near the picturesque colonial city of Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site.

The U.S. government expressed its "deepest condolences" to the victims on Thursday and said it was sending emergency aid at Guatemala's request, including an unspecified amount of financial resources to help meet food, water, and sanitation needs.

Fears of a new blowup of the 3,763-meter (12,346-foot) volcano have stalked rescue workers since Sunday's eruption buried entire villages on its southern flank.

The most recent official death count of 75 was reported by Guatemala's disaster agency Tuesday night.