Toll in Guatemala volcano eruption reaches 99

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Guatemala City, June 7 (IANS) The death toll from the eruption of the highly active Fuego volcano in Guatemala has increased to 99 as more bodies were found, according to authorities.

The remains of the 99 people have been sent to the morgues, while just 28 have been identified so far, Guatemala’s National Forensic Sciences Institute (INACIF) announced on Wednesday.

“We already have data with names and locations where there are missing persons and that number is 192,” said Sergio Cabanas, head of Guatemala’s disaster management agency.

Explosions boomed from the 3,763-metre volcano Wednesday, unleashing a new flow of dangerous volcanic material and forcing the rescuers to suspend the search for victims, Xinhua news agency reported.

Experts also warned that heavy rains in the area could provoke avalanches due to the large flows of volcanic mud.

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Fuego volcano exploded around noon on June 3, affecting more than 1.7 million people.

A state of disaster has been declared for the southern departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez, and Chimaltenango, which suffered the most.

“The conditions are critical in the areas near Fuego volcano,” said Eddy Sanchez, Director of the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology, adding that initial eruption was the most violent explosion since 1974.

According to volcanologists, eruption records of Fuego volcano, one of the country’s most active volcanoes, dates back to 1542.

At its fiercest, the volcano could spray ash all the way to Guatemala’s southern neighbours of El Salvador and Honduras.

–IANS

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