Published On: Sun, Jun 10th, 2018

Guatemala volcano latest: Fuego unleashes flow of burning sediment prompting evacuations | World | News

The initial eruption of Fuego has left at least 110 people dead and 200 people missing after the Volcano of Fire spewed fast-moving deadly pyroclastic flows last Sunday.

Guatemala’s seismology and volcanology institute said the new lahar – a flow of mud, debris, water and pyroclastic material – was fed by rains and tore down trees as it swept through ravines and gullies.

A rise in the Panaleon river caused by the new outflow led authorities to evacuate 72 people from the community of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa.

Alisha Clark, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University, said it is unknown whether the volcano, which continues to erupt, will produce further pyroclastic flows.

She told Express.co.uk: “There are indications that an eruption is imminent. Observations including earthquakes, inflation of the dome of the volcano, and gas emissions are used to determine the risk of and eruption.

“And then towns can be evacuated based on the frequency and severity of these markers, which has happened before for Fuego.

“But like other natural hazards, the exact size, timing and flow direction of a volcanic eruption is unknown.”

Fuego’s eruption was its most violent eruption in four decades and the last time the volcano erupted it took two and a half weeks for the volcano to return to normal.

The death toll from the volcano’s eruption has been gradually rising as rescue teams scoured the ravaged landscape, which is coated in ash.

Institute director Eddy Sanchez said the risks from the Volcano of Fire are not over even though its activity has been decreasing.

Officials search efforts for the missing were suspended for the third straight day on Saturday amid dangerous conditions, but in places like San Miguel Los Lotes families and volunteers continued the search.

More than 4,000 people remained in shelters after last Sunday’s eruption, where aid has begun arriving.

The death toll from the volcano’s eruption has been gradually rising as rescue teams scoured the ravaged landscape, which is coated in ash.

Institute director Eddy Sanchez said the risks from the Volcano of Fire are not over even though its activity has been decreasing.

Officials search efforts for the missing were suspended for the third straight day on Saturday amid dangerous conditions, but in places like San Miguel Los Lotes families and volunteers continued the search.

More than 4,000 people remained in shelters after last Sunday’s eruption, where aid has begun arriving.

“We make recommendations, and it’s the residents who decide whether to evacuate or not.”

In Guatemala City, about 1,000 people blew whistles and carried torches and banners in a protest against the official handling of the tragedy.

Families of the missing have been desperately searching for their loved ones, including Eufemia Garcia who watched in horror as 50 members of her family were buried by the volcano eruption.

Garcia believes her nine siblings and their families as well as her mother, her grown-up children and a grandson, were killed.

This would make her family possibly the hardest hit in the disaster, but everyday she leaves the shelter she lives in and grabs a pickaxe or shovel and digs through ash hardened by rain to reach the homes below and any remains of her family.

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