At least 99 dead as Guatemala volcano threatens new eruptions

Ash-covered cars

Guatemala's Fuego volcano has exploded again, sending rescue workers scrambling for cover beneath the smoking peak, as the death toll from the weekend's eruption rose to at least 73.

The explosions billowed ash more than 5,000m (16,000ft) above sea level, with Guatemala's seismology and volcanology institute warning that there is a moderate flow of risky material down the volcano - with the possibility of a strong flow in some areas.

People of the villages skirting Guatemala's Volcano of Fire began mourning the few dead who could be identified after an eruption killed dozens by engulfing them in floods of searing ash and mud.

Sunday's blast generated pyroclastic flows - fast-moving mixtures of very hot gas and volcanic matter - which descended down the slopes, engulfing communities including El Rodeo and San Miguel Los Lotes.

"All missionaries are safe, but hundreds of people were evacuated as ash was dispersed over a nine-mile radius", the news release said.

The death toll had stood at 75 late Tuesday.

A large plume of ash spewed into the sky from the mountain as more molten volcanic material spread down Fuego's south side.

It was covered in what he described as a "sea" of muck that came crashing into homes, smothering people, pets and wildlife.

Many people have been displaced by the eruption.

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With tragedy all around, hope stays alive for miracles as at least 10 people have been pulled alive from the ash, including a baby found unharmed.

Authorities cautiously resumed search and rescue operations Wednesday in towns and villages devastated by the eruption of Guatemala's Volcano of Fire, with time quickly running out to find any survivors.

Sergio Cabañas, head of the country's National Disaster Management Agency (Conred), told a local radio station that a river of lava had changed course towards the town.

Everything in the search area is covered in a thick blanket of dust, with police having to use red ink to mark homes that had already been searched for bodies.

"Mr. President, my family is missing".

Experts say this eruption is the biggest since 1974.

It said the lahars could sweep down the mountain laden with concrete, rocks up to a meter (yard) in diameter and tree trunks. Numerous victims are unrecognisable, with officials warning that DNA testing and other methods may be needed to identify them.

As rescue efforts are underway, responders must practice caution.

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