Guatemalan Volcano death toll reaches 69 and expected to go higher. Authorities have reported the confirmed death toll from the powerful emission of Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire rose after pulling survivors and bodies from the charred aftermath.
A disaster erupted Sunday, in which the river made their way through remote mountain hamlets, with little or no time to run away to safety. The volcano buried people in ash and seared mud that raced down its flanks and the intense heat left many people unrecognizable. These victims will have to be identified through DNA testing or other ways.
According to Guatemala’s disaster agency, the volcano eruption injured 46 people and affected more than 3,200 from the areas near the disaster west of Guatemala City while left nearly 2,000 people in shelters.
The director of Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Science, Fanuel Garcia said that 69 bodies had been recovered in the hamlets of Los Lotes and El Rodeo and 17 of those had been identified.
Guatemalan authorities reported that they had been working to monitor the Volcano of Fire after the activity rose around 6 a.m. Sunday.
“It is very difficult for us to identify them because some of the dead lost their features or their fingerprints from the red-hot flows,” Garcia said. “We are going to have to resort to other methods … and if possible take DNA samples to identify them.”
One of the distraught victims Hilda Lopez said, “We were at a party, celebrating the birth of a baby when one of the neighbors shouted at us to come out and see the lava that was coming.” “We didn’t believe it, and when we went out the hot mud was already coming down the street.”