Israel sends aid to Guatemala after deadly volcano eruption

07 June, 2018, 06:02 | Author: Carlos George
  • A view of an ambulance of the volunteer firefighter unit carrying wounded from the village of El Porvenir after an eruption of the Fuego volcano in Antigua Guatemala Sacatepequez Guatemala

The head of the country's disaster agency had previously put the death toll at 33, but warned it would go higher.

President Jimmy Morales has called for three days of national mourning following what officials say is the volcano's most intense eruption in more than four decades.

"It is very hard for us to identify them because some of the dead lost their features or their fingerprints" from the red-hot flows, said Fanuel Garcia, director of the National Institute of Forensic Sciences.

On Sunday, Guatemala's Volcán de Fuego erupted for 16 and a half hours, killing at least 25 and injuring hundreds more.

"Unfortunately El Rodeo was buried and we haven't been able to reach the La Libertad village because of the lava and maybe there are people that died there too".

De Leon said the disaster agency followed protocol.

Over two dozen people were killed from the blast and officials fear that number will rise.

Earlier on Sunday, the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) in Guatemala said fiery clouds of smoke were billowing from the volcano, and that soot had blanketed cars and houses in the nearby villages of San Pedro Yepocapa and Sangre de Cristo. Rescue operations had been suspended until Monday morning due to inclement weather and unsafe conditions.

Ash from the volcano, which lies about 27 miles (44 kilometres) west of Guatemala City, fell on the capital area as well as the departments of Sacatepequez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla.

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A deadly pyroclastic flow - which can travel down a mountain at speeds of more than 100km/h - shot from the volcano and is likely the cause of most deaths, volcanologist David Rothery told Al Jazeera.

Dramatic video showed a fast-moving flow of mud, ash and slurry slamming into and partly destroying a bridge on a highway between the towns of Sacatepequez and Escuintla.

The Volcan del Fuego burst into eruption Sunday, hurling ash 14,700 feet (4,500 meters) above sea level and sending flows of pyroclastic materials down its flanks into nearby towns.

An enormous cloud of sand, gravel, ash and lava spewed from "Volcan de Fuego", which means "Volcano of Fire". Seven deaths were confirmed previously.

At least another 20 people have been injured in the eruption, the second major one this year from the 3763 metre peak.

Rescuers have struggled to reach rural residents cut off by the eruption, which has also injured at least 20.

Flights to and from Guatemala City's La Aurora airport were canceled, leaving thousands of travelers stranded.

Steaming lava flowed down the streets of a village as emergency crews entered homes in search of trapped residents, another video on a different media outlet showed. Extremely hot flows of ash mixed with water and debris, blocking some roads and burning homes.

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