Sci-tech

Guatemala: volcano search and rescue resumes with almost 200 people missing

Guatemala: volcano search and rescue resumes with almost 200 people missing

Over 100 more people remain missing.

As dawn broke today, the volcano continued to rattle with what Guatemala's Volcanology Institute said were eight to 10 moderate eruptions per hour - vastly less intense than Monday's big blasts.

Sunday's blast generated pyroclastic flows - fast-moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter - which descended down the slopes, engulfing communities including El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes. Bulldozers and heavy machinery clearing the ash is even visible in the images.

Conred spokesman David de Leon said the volcano first erupted around midday on Sunday, billowing smoke and ash miles into the sky. The images show lava shooting into the air as a glowing flow of molten lava floods down the mountain and a cloud of boiling ash lands on villages.

In one shelter, people displaced by the volcano were given free haircuts by student hair stylists. Rescuers were evacuated from those areas with the new flows Tuesday afternoon. It was smothered in what he described as a "sea" of muck that came crashing into homes, inundating people, pets and wildlife.

It affected more than 1.7 million people, but those El Rodeo, Alotenango, and San Miguel los Lotes were hit particularly hard, with some saying that El Rodeo was "buried".

The family holed up in a house that heated up "like a boiler" inside, he said, then made their way onto the roof and then to the upper story of another, concrete home. After a cellphone call to Castillo's brother, rescuers arrived and brought the family to safety.

But the life they knew was gone.

A lucky few, like retiree Pantaleon Garcia, was able to load his grandchildren into the back of a pickup with a jug of water and some food, to go to stay with relatives in another town. "They are taking away our opportunity to say goodbye".

Workers poked metal rods into the terrain to release smoke, an indication that super-hot temperatures remained below the surface three days after the volcanic explosion that killed at least 75 people.

"Lavas can be deadly and unsafe, but they usually move at a more predictable rate and don't spread out as quickly across the land, so it can usually be escaped from before people lose their life", Rubin said.

"We already have data with names and locations where there are missing persons and that number is 192", Sergio Cabanas, head of Guatemala's disaster management agency, told reporters earlier in the day.


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