'Volcano of Fire' showing more signs of activity in Guatemala

'Volcano of Fire' showing more signs of activity in Guatemala

'Volcano of Fire' showing more signs of activity in Guatemala

Almost 70 people are dead, hundreds hurt and thousands still evacuated following a volcano eruption in southern Guatemala.

The national disaster agency, CONRED, said 192 people remained missing after the disaster and the forensic agency, Inacif, raised the death toll to at least 75, up from 72.

The institute says only 23 of the recovered bodies have been identified so far.

At least 75 people have been killed and dozens more were missing, according to Guatemala's Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.

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

More than 3,000 residents have been evacuated from the area and people have been advised to wear face masks.

The latest activity has been mostly on the far side of the volcano, facing the Pacific coast.

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The fast-moving flows overtook people in homes and streets with temperatures reaching as high as 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (700 Celsius), and hot ash and volcanic gases that can cause rapid asphyxiation.

Officials are crossing-checking census data with aerial photos of homes, registers of people in shelters and lists of the missing and injured, Cabanas said.

At a roadblock, Joel Gonzalez complained that police wouldn't let him through to see his family's house in the village of San Juan Alotenango, where his 76-year-old father lay buried in ash along with four other relatives.

The volcano shot ash and gas several kilometres up into the sky, which then fell back down and left debris across areas more than 15 kilometres away. Numerous victims are unrecognisable, with officials warning that DNA testing and other methods may be needed to identify them. Within 24 hours of the first eruption over the weekend, Shriners says an emergency medical team from its Galveston hospital was sent to provide care in Guatemala, where they've been working for days.

The prospects of finding any more survivors was poor, he said.

Authorities said explosions from the volcano, which again streamed pyroclastic flows Tuesday, are threatening villages southeast of the mountain.

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