The death toll continues to rise following a massive volcano eruption in Guatemala. The Fuego volcano erupted on May 3, spewing lava and burying surrounding villages in ash and mud. Around 100 people have died, with over 1.7 million people affected and over 3,000 evacuated. A man from the town of El Rodeo is currently searching for 46 members of his family who have been missing since Sunday’s eruption.
“I don’t know where they are … I looked in the hospitals, the morgue and there are no signs of any of them,” said resident Hugo Lopez, according to NBC News. “There’s nothing here, there’s nothing here,” he added, choked up with emotion.
Guatemalan rescue services have been working tirelessly to hunt for survivors and recover victims. But many believe that the response to the disaster has been lacking. Opposition politicians in Guatemala want the head of the emergency response agency (CONRED), Sergio Cabañas, to resign. They believe Conred failed to heed advance warnings about Sunday’s deadly eruption of the Fuego volcano.
UNE Congressman Mario Taracena held Cabañas accountable for the high death toll and said he should resign and face “penal consequences” for failing to issue evacuation orders despite receiving urgent warnings from Guatemala’s National Seismological Volcanic and Meteorological Institute.
“I’m telling you this as a human being: Quit,” Taracena said, according to a video posted on his Twitter account. “You are not someone who is capable for this job.”
“We can only work in places where we can stand on the roofs of houses … because the ash is very hot,” said 25-year-old rescuer Diego Lorenzana, as reported by Reuters. “There are places where you stick the pickaxe or rod in and we see a lot of smoke coming out and fire and it’s impossible to keep digging because we could die.”
There are also many issues surrounding the identifying of burnt bodies. “The bodies are already charred,” said 59-year-old truck driver, Efrain Suarez, as he stood next to a devastating scene of burning ash and mud. “And if heavy machinery comes in they will be torn apart,” he added, according to ABC 7.
WE NEED YOUR HELP: A NEW ERUPTION HAPPENED. The tragedy of Fuego Volcano in Guatemala has left more than 1 million people affected, more than 65 deaths and RESCUERS are in need of boots, eye drops and hydrating-isotonic drinks (Gatorade-Powerade). I’ve started a crowdfunding to buy all the stuff they need. PLEASE HELP THEM TO HELP US. 🚨🚨 LINK IN BIO FOR DONATIONS 🚨🚨 . . Photo: @jjmuralles . . #donations #help #helpothers #prayforguatemala #fuegovolcano #tragedy #weneedyou
Some 3,000 people are currently being accommodated in temporary shelters, while 12,000 remain homeless. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have announced the release of 250,000 Swiss francs ($253,446) from its global emergency fund to help finance the ongoing emergency efforts.
There are some 34 active volcanoes in the Central American country.
Guatemala has now suspended rescue efforts, citing dangerous conditions for operational personnel.
IF YOU WANT TO HELP GUATEMALA, GO TO MY LAST POST🚨WE NEED YOU⭕️ This is one of the most intense eruptions in the history of Fuego Volcano in Guatemala. As a journalist, I filmed this while I was in La Reunión. Every affected family is in my prayers, we were not expecting a tragedy. 🖤🌋 #fuegovolcano #volcandefuego #journalist