Guatemala volcano death toll up to 62, expected to rise

A policeman carries an elderly evacuee in Alotenango 55 km southwest of Guatemala City

A policeman carries an elderly evacuee in Alotenango 55 km southwest of Guatemala City

Today, hundreds of Guatemalans were affected by Guatemala's Fuego volcano that erupted.

Around 3,100 residents of communities near the volcano were eventually moved, and 20 sent to the hospital, according to Guatemala's CONRED national disaster management agency. They will have to be identified through DNA testing or other means.

The death toll of Sunday's eruption has reached 62 with many others still missing. "There are injured, burned and dead people", Cabanas said on radio, according to Reuters.

Guatemalan officials say more than 3,200 people have been evacuated after the volcanic eruption.

But the Fuego volcano erupted near densely populated areas. It is one of 11 active volcanoes in the Central America country that is along the so-called Ring of Fire.

A Monday photo shows ongoing volcanic activity at Fuego.

After an initial toll of 25 dead, it was revised upwards within hours as bodies were recovered from villages razed by the tumbling mud.

Police officers joining the search for vicitms run in San Miguel Los Lotes, a village in Escuintla Department, about 35 kilometres southwest of Guatemala City, on June 4, 2018, a day after the eruption of the Fuego Volcano.

This is the second major eruption from Volcan de Fuego this year.

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The charred landscape left behind was still too hot to touch or even to pull bodies from in many parts, melting the shoes of rescuers.

By contrast, Kilauea produces lava (or sticky, molten rock) that typically creeps along at maybe hundreds of meters per hour - not almost as fast as devastating pyroclastic flow.

Aviation authorities closed the capital's global airport because of the danger posed to planes by the ash.

Around 27 miles away in Guatemala City, the capital's worldwide airport was forced to close, with images showing planes dusted with volcanic material. The airport reopened for private flights on Monday morning.

Volcanic ash has fallen as far as Guatemala City.

Volcán de Fuego is a stratovolcano, meaning its 12,346-foot-tall (3,763 meters), mountainous peak is made up of layers of lava, volcanic rock fragments called tephra and pyroclastic flows-a dense mix of ash, lava fragments and gases that rocket out of volcanoes at high speeds. Rescue workers helped evacuate residents, but their efforts were hampered by the lava flows. Firefighters reported being unable to reach people trapped in areas cut off by the lava.

"It was fast-moving pyroclastic flows and people don't seem to have been aware of the hazard".

Some residents said they never learned of the danger until it was upon them - and were critical of authorities.

The representative of the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala, David de Leon, told Sputnik that the country hoped to tackle the consequences of the natural disaster with its own resources, despite the readiness of many states to offer their assistance.

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