Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Guatemala Volcano Buries Entire Village, 65 Dead After Violent Eruption Spews Rivers Of Hot Lava

"No Survivors": Guatemala Volcano Buries Entire Village, 65 Dead After Violent Eruption Spews Rivers Of Hot Lava

Rescue workers searched tirelessly for survivors amid a desolate grey landscape of ash and destruction on Monday, one day after Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted near the capital. At least 65 are dead and an unknown number of people are missing, according to Guatemala's natural disaster commission, also known as Conred.

Volunteer firefighters waded though layers of ash that reached knee-deep in places, only to find the charred remains of those who had been unable to flee the torrent of burning rock and ash that poured down the slopes of the volcano, whose name means “fire.” -NYT

We saw bodies totally, totally buried, like you saw in Pompeii,” said Dr. Otto Mazariegos, president of the Association of Municipal and Departmental Firefighters, who added that the death toll was expected to rise, "Probably in the hundreds." 
Rescue workers have been unable to reach sites on the south side of the volcano due to a lack of access. 

The speed of the volcano's flows took many by surprise - with some stopping by the road to watch the eruption - only to break into a sprint when they realized how fast the plumes were approaching.

Survivors returning to the village of San Miguel los Lotes on Monday found nothing but distruction, as the village was turned to rubble by the force of the eruption. 
“My mother is buried there,” Inés López told a Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, standing amid the wreckage of his home. He was numb with grief. “What can I do to cry? My heart is hard, hard. All our family is here, buried,” he said waving his hand over the ruins. -NYT

Rescue crews carried bodies tightly wrapped in dusty white sheets, while volunteer firefighters waded through knee-deep ash, only to find the charred remains of residents who were unable to flee the hot rivers of molten lava that poured down the slopes of the volcano. 
As the day wore on, officials were forced to suspend some rescue operations because of the fear that the volcano might erupt again. The deep ravines on the volcano’s slopes were already filled with lava, Dr. Mazariegos said, and there was no way to tell how a new flow might spread.
Published photos from morning visits to the disaster zone showed images of ordinary life frozen under a coat of gray dust. In one house, balloons and chairs were arranged for a child’s birthday party. -NYT
Over 3,000 people have been evacuated, and 1,689 found space in shelters in neighboring Escuintla and Alotenango, while 46 were taken to the hospital - many with severe burns. 
President Jimmy Morales declared three days of mourning before touring shelters and the disaster area. A weeping woman, Eufemia García, approached his van as he left the buried village of El Rodeo and Morales got out to listen: 
“Mr. President, my family is missing ... Send a helicopter to drop water from above because it is burning there. I have three children, a grandchild, all my brothers and sisters, my mother — more than 20 are missing.”

No comments: