Search continues as Guatemala toll rises to 72

Boris Rodriguez 24 who is searching for his wife cries after seeing the condition of his neighborhood destroyed by the erupting Volcan de Fuego

"On behalf of the government of Israel I would like to express our solidarity with the people and Government of Guatemala over the damage caused by the eruption of Volcan de Fuego, the 'Fire Volcano.' My condolences to the families of the victims". Authorities have said the window is closing on the chances of finding anyone else alive in the devastation.

"One million seven hundred thousand people are affected, and that number could rise - he said - there is serious damage to infrastructure, especially roads and bridges, so communications are very hard".

Rescuers resumed the search Wednesday, and Associated Press reporters saw them recovering remains.

"We know their names, their ages, and which villages they were from", he said.

It said the lahars could sweep down the mountain laden with concrete, rocks up to a meter (yard) in diameter and tree trunks.

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

But Guatemalan authorities warned that the Fuego volcano is showing signs of greater activity. Rescuers used sledgehammers to break through the roofs of houses buried in debris up to their rooflines to check for anyone trapped inside.

The official number of those missing now stands at 192, a preliminary figure because nobody knows how many people were on the mountain when El Fuego erupted on Sunday around midday. The speed lava, gas, smoke and dust travel depends on several factors, such as output rate of the volcano and the gradient of its slope.

"The bodies are already charred", the 59-year-old, who works as a truck driver, continued, adding that "they will be torn apart" if machines are used in the recovery.

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They have been helping children and families in Guatemala for ten years.

Officials are crossing-checking census data with aerial photos of homes, registers of people in shelters and lists of the missing and injured, Cabanas said. Among them is Alfonso Castillo, who now resides at a shelter located in the city of Escuintla.

"Lavas can be deadly and risky, but they usually move at a more predictable rate and don't spread out as quickly across the land, so it can usually be escaped from before people lose their life", Rubin said.

"You feel powerless", she said.

Twelve people severely wounded since the eruption will receive medical attention in the United States and in Mexico, President Morales said.

Julio Sanchez, spokesman for Guatemala's firefighters and CONRED, told the AP that many dogs and cats had been rescued from devastated areas, some burned and blinded from volcanic ash and gases.

Thursday morning the spokesperson of the Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction, David De Leon, announced the temporary suspension of the rescue operation due to bad weather conditions.

Pacaya Volcano activity is just the latest in Guatemala volcanic activity after the first eruption of the Fuego Volcano on Sunday, which left 75 people dead and at least 200 people missing. Rescuers were concerned about possible dangers posed not only by more volcanic flows but also rain.

Rescue workers search in El Rodeo, one of the hamlets in the disaster area near the Volcan de Fuego.

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