Rescuers search for more victims in Guatemala as volcano calms down
NEWS DIGEST -Guatemalan Rescuers were on Tuesday searching for more victims from the devastating eruption of the Fuego volcano as its energy was gradually decreasing.
The eruption on Sunday of the 3,763-metre Volcan de Fuego at about 70 kilometres south-west of Guatemala City left at least 65 people dead and 46 injured.
They included entire families whose bodies were found in their houses after the volcano spewed lava, rock, gas and covered the surrounding area in ash.
“It is evident that the volcano’s energy has decreased and its tendency is to continue decreasing,’’ said the head of Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, Eddy Sanchez.
“No eruption is imminent in the coming days,’’ the newspaper Republica quoted him as saying.
The villages of El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes were largely destroyed and around 3,200 people had to be evacuated from the area.
Authorities have so far been able to identify 17 of the dead, according to the country’s National Institute of Forensic Science (INACIF).
Some of the victims have already been given burials.
The eruption occurred so rapidly that local people did not immediately realise what was happening, witnesses said. “My sisters screamed to me: Nelda, this is getting worse,’’ said Nelda Mijangos Chang, 45.
Her mother was just making omelettes and refused to leave the kitchen immediately, leading to lava reaching her legs, which had to be amputated, Mijangos said.
Around 1.7 million people were affected by the eruption, which also forced the temporary closure of Guatemala City’s airport.
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