Rescuers tirelessly search for 200 missing near Guatemala volcano


At least 75 people have died and almost 200 are missing in Guatemala after a second round of eruptions at Mount Fuego that scattered ash over a wide area and forced authorities to issue new evacuations. Experts say the volcano emitted something different than what has been seen in Hawaii, a pyroclastic flow. The institute said that 23 of those recovered bodies had been identified.

A thick layer of still smoldering ash and volcanic rock blanketed the tiny hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, with only the roofs of some homes sticking out.

"We will continue until we find the last victim, though we do not know how many there are".

The National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh) in Guatemala has reported that lava flow formed on the north side of the Pacaya Volcano.

Guatemala's disaster agency is calling for calm, but after receiving little or no warning before the volcano exploded Sunday, many people are not taking chances. The searing hot volcanic material that covered communities near the volcano left numerous bodies unrecognisable so DNA testing or other methods will be necessary for identification.

She explained there is a great need for clothing and mattresses because shelters are not equipped with them and she urged people to pray for Guatemala and its people.

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"You can't say all pyroclastic flows are always more risky than all lava flows, but you can generally say that pyroclastic flows are more unsafe than lavas overall", said Ken Rubin, chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics and the University of Hawaii.

Two days after the eruption, the terrain was still too hot in many places for rescue crews to search for bodies or - increasingly unlikely with each passing day - survivors.

On an open-air patio at Murray D. Lincoln school in the nearby city of Escuintla, several people sat on plastic chairs covered by aprons as volunteers attended to them on Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of people who live near the volcano were still trying to evacuate, as new lava flows were pushed from the volcano in a secondary eruption.

Diaz added that she did a cut for one woman who had several inches of her hair singed.