Evacuations ordered after new explosion at Guatemala volcano

Evacuations ordered after new explosion at Guatemala volcano

A British backpacker helping with the "harrowing" volcano relief effort in Guatemala has described panic as a fresh eruption sparked an evacuation of areas surrounding the Volcan de Fuego.

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.

At a shelter in the Murray D. Lincoln school in the city of Escuintla, about 10 miles (15 kilometers) from the volcano's peak, Alfonso Castillo said he and his extended family of 30 had lived on a shared plot in Los Lotes where each family had its own home.

TRT World's Arabella Munro has more details.

Guatemala's seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute Insivumeh heightened its warnings after the volcano erupted again on Tuesday, forcing evacuations and sending rescue workers scrambling for cover.

Firefighters hosed down their smoking boots, which had sunk into molten volcanic material just below the ash surface.

Everything in the search area is covered in a thick blanket of dust, with police having to use red ink to mark homes that had already been searched for bodies.

Guatemala's national disaster management agency, CONRED, said 1.7 million people have been affected by the volcanic eruption.

Lava fills up Hawaiian bay, destroys hundreds of homes
Snyder said it was hard to count homes in that area from the air because of steam produced from lava entering the ocean. Those who live or vacation in the area were mourning the loss of popular tide-pools where kids enjoyed swimming.

Authorities have not offered any estimate of how many people might still be missing.

Journalist Louisa Reynolds reports from Antigua, Guatemala with the latest.

But between stoppages, search teams working with shovels and heavy equipment found more bodies from Sunday's big eruption.

The search for bodies in mountain villages destroyed by the eruption was progressing slowly, officials had said earlier, given the nature of the terrain and the way the volcano released large amounts of boiling mud, rock and ash down the mountain.

Sunday's eruption is the country's deadliest since 1902, when the Santa Maria volcano erupted, the BBC said.

Despite offers of worldwide help from the United States, Mexico and several Latin American neighbours, Guatemalan authorities have not made a request for foreign aid.

The speed of the eruption took locals by surprise, and could be explained by it producing pyroclastic flows, sudden emissions of gas and rock fragments, rather than lava, said volcanologist David Rothery of Britain's Open University.

"My mother was stuck there, she couldn't get out", said Lopez, weeping and holding her face in her hands. "We are talking about a tragedy, a national mourning", Guatemala President Jimmy Morales said.

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