EL RODEO, Guatemala (Reuters) – Dangerous lava flows, ash and toxic gases dropped several guns under the crater of Guatemala's Fuego volcano on Friday, triggering a new round of evacuation of rescue workers and nearby villages.
At least 109 people have already died in a series of eruptions that began with a massive explosion on Sunday and since then they have scattered ashes over a vast area, throwing lethal and fast-moving pyroclastic flows.
In two of the canyons where the flows have accumulated, the ash columns rose to 19,700 feet (6,000 meters), according to a statement on Friday morning from the volcanic institute in Guatemala.
"The (flows) transport hot steam, including fine particles similar to cement, rocks of two to three meters in diameter and trunks of trees dragged by the current," the statement said.
The flows caused panic among the rescue workers who were still in the area, as well as between the volunteers and the police.
Search and rescue efforts were formally suspended on Thursday due to dangerous conditions, although authorities said they could resume if the situation improves. [nL2N1T915L]
Along a closed road that connects the towns of El Rodeo and San Miguel los Lotes, Around 25 people, many of them with picks and shovels, waited to resume the search for the disappeared.
The death toll from the most violent eruption of Fuego in four decades has been gradually increasing as rescue teams roamed the devastated landscape, which is covered in ash.
The US government UU He said he sent emergency aid at the request of Guatemala, while Mexican authorities sent doctors to help survivors with severe burns, at least seven of whom, in critical condition, were moved across the border into Mexico.
It is expected that the number of deaths of Fuego, which means "fire" in Spanish, will increase even more as more bodies are found.
"If the search is not going to continue (the authorities) should send us help because even if they are only bones, we want to recover our families," said Eufemia García, an Ama of a 47-year-old house that estimates that 50 members of his extended family are still missing.
Additional report by Carlos Jasso; Written by David Alire Garcia, Edition by Rosalba O & # 39; Brien