Volcan de Fuego erupted on Sunday and again on Tuesday, sending ash and smoke 20,000ft into the air
Pyroclastic flows destroyed at least seven towns and turned green canyons into grey devastation
Rescuers dug up 99 bodies with at least 197 people missing and, they believe, almost certainly dead
Searches are hampered by rain, mudslides, poisonous gas, and 1,300F temperatures just below the surface
By NIC WHITE
7 June 2018
Giant clouds of superheated smoke and ash burned people alive and buried entire towns in a deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala that killed almost 100 people.
Shocking satellite photos of before and after Sunday’s eruption show whole suburbs wiped off the map as hundreds of houses collapsed when tons of falling ash crushed them.
What was once a collection of green canyons, hillsides and farms was reduced to grey devastation by fast-moving avalanches of super-heated muck that roared into the tightly knit villages on the mountain’s flanks.
Volcan de Fuego, meaning ‘Volcano of Fire’ spewed a ‘curtain’ of ash 20,000ft into the air and sent rapid pyroclastic flows through at least seven nearby towns in the biggest eruption for four decades.
A secondary eruption on Tuesday blew ash more than 16,000ft above sea level and sent more volcanic material over settlements to the east and northeast.
Rescuers have dug 99 bodies out of the ash and rubble, only 28 of whom have been identified, with at least 197 people still missing with little hope of survival.
More than 1.7 million people we affected by the eruption with 12,000 evacuated to overflowing relief centers were volunteers gave out food and emergency supplies.
Farm worker Alfonso Castillo, 33, said his village of San Miguel Los Lotes was completely obliterated by what he described as a ‘sea’ of muck that came crashing into homes, inundating people, pets and wildlife.
‘In a matter of three or four minutes the village disappeared,’ he said.