Guatemala Volcano Toll Rises To 75, 200 Still Missing

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A volunteer firefighter cries after leaving El Rodeo village in Escuintla department, 35 km south of Guatemala City on June 3, 2018, following the eruption of the Fuego Volcano.

The eruption also created pyroclastic flows - fast-moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter.

The country's seismology and volcanology institute warned of new flows descending Wednesday afternoon through canyons on the volcano's western slope, carrying boulders and tree trunks.

Standing amid the wreckage on Wednesday, he said any bodies below are surely severely damaged, and if heavy machinery comes, it will tear up their remains.

Hilda Lopez said her mother and sister were still missing after the slurry of hot gas, ash and rock roared into her village of San Miguel Los Lotes, just below the mountain's flanks.

"The worst situations I have seen are the people who have lost their homes, lost everything".

The scenes of devastation were accompanied by heartbreaking stories of whole families that were devastated by the disaster - the biggest eruption from the mountain in four decades. It was smothered in what he described as a "sea" of muck that came crashing into homes, inundating people, pets and wildlife.

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Before he and his family were ultimately rescued, they managed to make their way to an upper floor of a concrete home. After a cellphone call to Castillo's brother, rescuers arrived and brought the family to safety.

"Nobody wants to go back there".

So far officials have identified about a third of the bodies recovered. My children say they would rather be in the streets ...

"My mother was stuck there, she couldn't get out", said Lopez, weeping and holding her face in her hands.

The official number of those missing now stands at 192, a preliminary figure because nobody knows how many people were on the mountain when El Fuego erupted on Sunday around midday. "For us, there is no tomorrow".

At the wreckage in the village of San Miguel Los Lotes near the base of the volcano, rescue crews were operating again but rain from the previous night had caused the ash to harden.

"We now have an accounting with names and towns where people have gone missing and we have a figure, which is 192 people who we have unaccounted for", Disaster Relief Agency chief Sergio Cabañas told the France-Presse news agency. "We will probe the area as many times as necessary", Cabanas told AFP.

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