The death toll from the devastating eruption of Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire has risen to at least 69 and is expected to rise. Rescue workers pulled more bodies from under the dust and rubble, with 17 of them identified so far. There are 46 people injured, most of them seriously, with more than 1.7 million affected by the disaster. More than 3,000 villagers were evacuated, with many taking refuge in shelters since Sunday’s blast. The volcano erupted early on Sunday, spewing out towering plumes of ash and a hail of fiery rock fragments with scalding mud.
Authorities had warned the death toll could rise after searches resumed for survivors in communities on the mountain’s southern flank. After an initial toll of 25 dead, it was revised upwards within hours as bodies were recovered from villages demolished by the tumbling mud. ‘There are missing persons, but we do not know how many,’ said Sergio Cabanas of Guatemala’s disaster management agency.