A Volcano Explosion In Guatemala Left 75 Dead & Almost 200 Missing

On Sunday, an eruption at the Fuego volcano in Guatemala left 75 people dead and at least 192 people missing, BBC reported.

It was the biggest eruption since at least 1974 and more than 3,000 people have been displaced as a result of the hot gas and molten rock which streamed down from the volcano. Villages nearby the volcano were buried in ash and mud. The Los Angeles Times reported that according to a Guatemalan disaster agency, the eruption has affected a total of 1.7 people.

Fuego is a composite volcano; it has a steep, conical shape and it sits on the Ring of Fire, an area around the Pacific that spreads from the southern tip of South America to New Zealand. It is home to a string of volcanoes, earthquake sites, and shifting tectonic plates. As a result of its location, Fuego is often prone to eruptions, most of which are minor.

Rescue workers claim that rural areas have been the most affected by the eruption and while some local residents were trained in responding to emergency procedures, they were unable to respond because the eruption occurred so fast, reported BBC. Additionally, rescue workers stated that it was difficult to save some locals because of further eruptions which caused diminished visibility and difficulty breathing. One day after the initial eruption, the surrounding village near Fuego became too dangerous to enter as it was engulfed in hot ash and dangerous volcanic matter.

“Every time we lift off a metal roof a huge gush of steam rises out of the building,” a rescue worker named Juan Diego Alvarez told the Guardian. “The ash is just too hot for us to work.” Officials on the scene expect the body count to increase within the next couple of days.