'Nobody is left' - Guatemala volcano ravaged entire families

'Nobody is left' - Guatemala volcano ravaged entire families

Volunteer firefighters search for victims of Sunday's Fuego Volcano eruption in Alotenango, a municipality in Sacatepequez Department, southwest of Guatemala City on June 6, 2018.

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. As expected, the death toll has since increased, reaching 75.

In his words: "Nobody is going to be able to get them out nor say how many are buried here".

Thousands of people were affected by the volcanic eruption, with about 3,500 seeking refuge in shelters.

The country's seismology and volcanology institute warned of new flows descending Wednesday afternoon through canyons on the volcano's western slope, carrying boulders and tree trunks.

"All missionaries are safe, but hundreds of people were evacuated as ash was dispersed over a nine-mile radius", the news release said.

It was covered in what he described as a "sea" of muck that came crashing into homes, smothering people, pets and wildlife.

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A man covered with ash after the eruption of the Fuego volcano, in San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla. The spike in activity there started more than a month ago, but the volcano hasn't caused any deaths.

Fast-moving mixtures of hot gas and volcanic material, like ash, flowed down into local communities.

The National Forensic Sciences Agency said only 28 of the dead have been identified so far. The searing hot volcanic material that covered communities near the volcano left numerous bodies unrecognizable so DNA testing or other methods will be necessary for identification. Rescuers wearing hard hats, masks and goggles used shovels to dig through homes, unearthing at least one body burned beyond recognition. The threat of more eruptions continues, as the number of people evacuated has risen to more than 12,000.

Experts warned Wednesday that heavy rains in the area could provoke avalanches due to the large flows of volcanic mud, known as lahars, since the eruption on Sunday. Numerous victims are unrecognisable, with officials warning that DNA testing and other methods may be needed to identify them.

The manhunt is continuing as national disaster agency, CONRED, said nearly 200 people are still missing.

The terrain was also too hot after the eruption for rescue crews to search, decreasing the likelihood of finding people alive.

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