Guatemala Calls for International Help Over Deadly Volcanic Eruption


The area was evacuated Tuesday afternoon when a new column of smoke rose from the Volcano of Fire and officials warned of increasing activity.

Many victims are believed to have burned to death or suffocated from the poisonous gases released in the eruption on Sunday.

Six children who have been burned by the volcanic eruption in Guatemala on Thursday arrived in Houston in the USA state of Texas for medical treatment.

"Nobody is going to be able to get them out or say how many are buried here", Efrain Suarez said, standing amid the smoking holes dotting what used to be the village of San Miguel Los Lotes on the flanks of the mountain.

Guatemalan authorities have confirmed 99 people died, but only 28 have been identified, due in part to the volcanic flow leaving bodies un-recognizable.

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Fifty-nine-year-old truck driver Efrain Suarez is a resident of El Rodeo who had come to Los Lotes to check damage to the property of friends and family. The previous toll was 99.

According to volcanologists, eruption records for Fuego Volcano, one of the country's most active volcanoes, date back to 1542.

As for the doctors here, they're all very experienced when it comes to treating burn victims and dealing with mass casualty situations.

A state of disaster has been declared for the southern departments of Escuintla, Sacatepequez, and Chimaltenango, which suffered the most.

The agency said seven of the latest victims were in a temporary morgue installed close to the impact zone, in the now-devastated community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, south of the capital Guatemala City.

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"In a matter of three or four minutes the village disappeared", Castillo said.

A dozen other families also arrived to search the homes. "They did not care and they did not take precautions".

Asked about that possibility, the director of Guatemala's disaster agency, Sergio Cabanas, said: "Not until the search efforts are over, and it would be left up to the people".

Oscar Chavez trekked over a mountain with his father and younger brother to search for his brother Edgar, sister-in-law Sandra and 4-year-old nephew Josue in the hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, which was nearly entirely wiped out by the volcanic flows.

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