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Death toll from Guatemala volcanic eruption rises to 69

Authorities in Guatemala have increased the number of the dead from a volcanic eruption in the Central American country to 69, as family members search for the missing in makeshift morgues and on streets blanketed with ash.

Guatemala’s national disaster agency, CONRED, increased the death toll as more bodies were pulled from the debris around the village of El Rodeo, which was hard hit by the eruption. Just a fraction of the victims have been identified so far.

Meanwhile, rescue workers continue to pull bodies from under the dust and rubble left by the explosive eruption of Fuego Volcano on Sunday.

Volcan de Fuego, which translates to “Volcano of Fire,” is about 40 km southwest of the capital, Guatemala City, and is close to the colonial city of Antigua, which is a popular tourist attraction known for its coffee plantations.

During eruption, Fuego spewed an eight-kilometer stream of red hot lava and a thick plume of black smoke and ash that rained onto the capital and other regions.

Smoke from the Fuego volcano, as seen from the streets of Alotenango municipality, Sacatepequez, about 65 km southwest of Guatemala City, on June 4, 2018 (photo by AFP)


Pyroclastic flows consisting of fast-moving volcanic matter then rushed down Fuego’s mountainside, burying entire villages.

Some 3,000 local residents were evacuated and settled in temporary shelters.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of national mourning.

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