The toll in the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala has risen to 69, AP reported on Tuesday. Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Science director said said only 17 of those bodies have been identified till now.
Soldiers and firefighters are working together to find missing people and retrieve bodies. Nearly 3,100 people have been evacuated from the affected area, the country’s disaster management agency said.
“It is very difficult for us to identify them because some of the dead lost their features or their fingerprints,” Garcia said. “We are going to have to resort to other methods... and if possible take DNA samples to identify them.”
Fuego, meaning “fire” in Spanish, is one of the most active volcanos in Central America.
On Sunday, the volcano spewed black smoke, ash and an 8-km stream of red hot lava in its second eruption of 2018. This is the most violent eruption of Fuego in more than four decades. Most of those who died were in the towns of El Rodeo, Alotenango and San Miguel los Lotes.
The eruption also created pyroclastic flows – fast-moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter, the BBC reported.
“It’s a river of lava that overflowed its banks and affected the El Rodeo village,” Sergio Cabanas of Guatemala’s national disaster management agency had said. “There are injured, burned and dead people.”
On Monday, President Jimmy Morales declared three days of national mourning.