Search continues as Guatemala toll rises to 72

06 June, 2018, 18:05 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Rescuers take a break while the search and rescue efforts continue in the area of El Rodeo in the department of Escuintla Guatemala

Policemen inspect at an area affected by the eruption of the Fuego volcano in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, Guatemala on June 5, 2018.

Emergency services in Guatemala are evacuating areas around the Fuego volcano after a new eruption sent lava spewing down its south side.

Guatemala's disaster agency issued new evacuation orders for some nearby communities Tuesday afternoon, setting off a panicky flight by people that stalled traffic in some areas.

Nearly 200 people remained missing after Fuego's most devastating eruption in more than four decades sent huge clouds of ash and rock known as pyroclastic flows down the mountain, burying villagers under tonnes of debris.

People who lived in the area are now staying in temporary shelters.

A BABY girl who was buried under ash from the Guatemalan volcano disaster has survived and been rescued, a small miracle amid the devastation.

Thousands of people have been evacuated in Guatemala since Sunday, when Fuego's largest eruption in four decades shot hot gas and smoke 6.2 miles into the sky, according to CONRED, the country's natural disaster agency.

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Officials also increased the death toll from Sunday's eruption to 75.

That eruption unleashed a rapid flow of gas and volcanic debris which quickly enveloped homes nearby, killing those inside.

Eddy Sanchez, the head of Guatemala's National Institute of Seismology, had said there would be "no imminent eruption over the next few days".

Officials say a total of 192 people remain missing, but the search for bodies in mountainous areas destroyed by the eruption has been progressing slowly.

Only some communities in Escuintla are under an evacuation order, but even in the more distant central Escuintla businesses have closed and people are leaving.

The country's volcanology and meteorology institute says the volcano has been experiencing eight to 10 moderate explosions per hour Tuesday morning, though the scale of the activity is far lower than that of Sunday.

"If you are trapped in a pyroclastic flow, it's hard to come out of it alive", he said, adding that people who may have been caught in the flow may never be found.

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