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Pope Francis praying for victims of Guatemala volcano

08 June 2018, 03:58 | Devin Moran

'Volcan de Fuego' Becomes Most Violent Volcanic Eruption in More than a Century

Boris Rodriguez 24 who is searching for his wife cries after seeing the condition of his neighborhood destroyed by the erupting Volcan de Fuego

Rescue workers look for remains at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano at El Rodeo in Escuintla, Guatemala June 6, 2018. One More Child's Vice President Andrew Tattrie said members have been keeping the organization up to date with what's happening.

So far only the body of one relative, her 28-year-old cousin, Cesar Gudiel Escalante, has been recovered and identified.

The blast produced what are known as pyroclastic flows, a potent mix of ash, rock and volcanic gases that buried local towns such as El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes.

As the Volcan de Fuego continued to belch and rumble, hundreds of rescuers in hard hats and with shovels fanned out to search for the missing, combing through ash and rock that cascaded down the volcano's steep slopes on Sunday and buried villages and vehicles.

People evacuate the disaster zone as a column of smoke and ash rises from the area where lava flowed down the Fuego Volcano, in Escuintla Department, about 35 km southwest of Guatemala City, on June 5, 2018.

It is Guatemala's deadliest volcanic eruption for more than a century.

Thousands of people displaced by disaster have been forced to move into shelters, and many of them have loved ones who have died or are unaccounted for.




"In a matter of three or four minutes the village disappeared", Castillo said, smothered in what he described as a "sea" of muck that came crashing into homes, inundating people, pets and wildlife.

The family holed up in a house that heated up "like a boiler" inside, he said, then made their way onto the roof and then to the upper story of another, concrete home.

"Nobody wants to go back there".

At least 99 fatalities have been confirmed after the massive eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala, up from the previous estimate of 75, the Guatemalan disaster and forensic agency says. After the eruption, people say they had to build an impromptu bridge over hot ashes to try and get the injured the help they need.

Officials said the speed and ferocity of the eruption took mountain communities by surprise, with numerous dead found in or around their homes. There are many people who are helping us, but we have absolutely nothing.

"We are ready when CONRED, as the governing body of emergency management, authorize us to make an appeal", the ministry said in a statement.



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