'Nobody is left' - Guatemala volcano ravaged entire families

Bing Map of Guatemala

Bing Map of Guatemala

Guatemala's Volcano of Fire has exploded again for the first time since devastating eruptions on Sunday which killed at least 75 people.

Guatemalan authorities put the death toll at 69, but officials said just 17 had been identified so far because the intense heat of the volcanic debris flows left most bodies unrecognizable.

It is feared that the number of victims can rise substantially since 192 people still remain unaccounted for. The searing hot volcanic material that covered communities near the volcano left numerous bodies unrecognisable so DNA testing or other methods will be necessary for identification.

"The country's seismology and vulcanology institute said the smoke billowing from the volcano's top could produce a "curtain" of ash that could reach 20,000 feet above sea level, posing a danger to air traffic". A new, more powerful explosion followed two hours later.

This is the second time it has erupted this year, with an explosion in February sending an ash cloud hundreds of metres into the air.

The latest activity has been mostly on the far side of the volcano, facing the Pacific coast.

"If you are trapped in a pyroclastic flow, it's hard to come out of it alive", he said, adding that people who may have been caught in the flow may never be found.

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No evacuation alert was issued before the volcano erupted on Sunday, said Sergio Cabañas, the director of Guatemala's disaster prevention agency.

The eruption on Sunday sent columns of ash and smoke 10 kilometres into the sky, blanketing several regions.

In the devastated town of El Rodeo, gray soot coated trees and homes and an ash-covered deer lay dead in the debris.

At least 62 bodies have been recovered, with dozens more people missing.

The prospects of finding any more survivors was poor, he said. Numerous victims are unrecognisable, with officials warning that DNA testing and other methods may be needed to identify them.

Volcanologist Dr Janine Krippner told the BBC that people should not underestimate the risk from pyroclastic flows and volcanic mudflows, known as lahars.

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