Guatemalan officials warned of falling ash from the Fuego volcano late on Thursday and urged caution with flights as the Central American country recovers from devastating eruptions that have killed at least 109 people.
The seismological, volcanic and meteorological institute Insivumeh advised the civil aviation authority to take precautions with flights amid renewed activity from the peak, which produced a massive eruption on Sunday.
The death toll from Fuego’s most violent eruption in four decades has been gradually rising and now stands at 109, the Guatemala’s disaster and forensic agency Inacif said earlier on Thursday.
Authorities have said a communication breakdown between CONRED and volcanologists in Guatemala delayed evacuations from the surrounding area.
Guatemala’s public prosecutor said on Thursday it would open an investigation into whether protocols were followed to inform proper decision-making in the handling of the disaster.
SAN MIGUEL LOS LOTES, Guatemala (AP) — Estuardo Hernandez, a 19-year-old worker at a plant nursery in the nearby city of Antigua, is certain he knows where his parents are, and the knowledge is driving him to desperation. He’s sure they are buried inside the home where he grew up, covered by ash and other debris that swept down the Volcano of Fire into this small community.
Lying on his stomach, he reaches into a narrow space left between the top of a window and the tons of ash now filling the one-story house. The ash is almost up to the roof, and his efforts are so futile he stops and weeps softly.
Guatemala’s government suspended the search for the dead Thursday, saying wet weather and still-hot volcanic material were too dangerous for rescuers. The bulldozers and backhoes that Hernandez would need to uncover his parents are at the bottom of the hill, concentrating on re-opening a highway blocked by a mountain of ash and boulders.