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Orange, super-heated gas and rocks shot into the sky from Volcan de Fuego and poured down the mountain, wiping out entire villages on Sunday.

The itinerant coffee worker was away from his home at the time of the eruption.

In the first few hours, the ash and mud was so hot, rescuers had a hard time reaching victims and by the time they made it out to some of them it was too late.

Volcan de Fuego, which means "Volcano of Fire" in Spanish, is one of several active volcanoes among 34 in the Central American country.

Two days after the eruption, the terrain was still too hot in many places for rescue crews to search for bodies or - increasingly unlikely with each passing day - survivors.

Rescuers, police and journalists hurried to leave the area as a siren wailed and loudspeakers blared, "Evacuate".

A FAMILY of TT nationals living in Guatemala say they are scared in the aftermath of Sunday's eruption of the Fuego volcano which has claimed the lives of more than 69 people. Cabanas says some of the missing people could be among the unidentified bodies.

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

Villages on the slopes were buried in volcanic ash and mud.

"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". Numerous victims are unrecognisable, with officials warning that DNA testing and other methods may be needed to identify them.

More than 1.7 million people have been affected by Sunday's eruption, and over 3,000 have been evacuated.

A telegramme addressed to Archbishop Nicolas Thevenin, the Apostolic Nuncio in Guatemala by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin on behalf of the Pope, said Francis was "deeply saddened to learn of the news of the violent eruption of the Volcano of Fire, which has claimed numerous victims, caused enormous material damage and affected a significant number of people who live in the area".

As dawn broke Tuesday, the volcano continued to rattle with what Guatemala's Volcanology Institute said were eight to 10 moderate eruptions per hour - vastly less intense than Sunday's big blasts.


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