Radio Cadena Agramonte
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Rescuers Continue Search for Survivors in Guatemala

Guatemala, Jun 5.- Early in the morning, relief workers resumed today their search for survivors of the tragedy caused in Guatemala by the eruption of the Fuego volcano, the most powerful since 1979.

Pain, fright and awe are words do not describe the images that already go around the world and show how the fury of the colossus was mainly inflicted on the southern department of Escuintla, where several settlements were buried under the ashes in just minutes.

A little more than 24 hours after the second eruption of the volcano in 2018, the last part of the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction raised the number of fatal victims to 69, while 46 were injured, 1,877 were sheltered and more than 1.7 million were affected.

Homes and bodies buried in what were once populated are what remains under the volcanic material in San Miguel Los Lotes and El Rodeo (Escuintla), where entire families died due to the avalanche of lava, mud and burning ash which deviated from the ravines to the foothills of the volcano.

They resemble ghostly places, typical of horror movie scenes, but the presence of teams of firefighters, police, volunteers and a few survivors who tell the story immediately brings us back to reality.

Amidst the mourning and pain of not finding their relatives, some managed to recover their bodies, wake them in improvised places and begin to bury them, however, a majority do not lose hope and desperately beg for signs of life.

The National Institute of Forensic Sciences reported that it was possible to identify 17 of the 69 victims by means of ‘fingerprints and physical characteristics', but many bodies are completely burned and recognition is almost impossible.

Faced with the Dantestic panorama, the solidarity of Guatemalans has not been long in coming to provide food, medicine and clothing to those who have lost everything.

National and international artists have expressed their condolences, charity concerts are organized to raise funds and volunteer brigades come to the shelters to provide psychological support to the victims, as many are still not overcoming the shock of homelessness.

On a tour of the most affected areas, President Jimmy Morales emphasized on Monday that ‘Guatemala is going through very difficult times and only together will we get through it', while thanking the support of neighboring countries such as Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the United States, among many others who offered immediate help.

From yesterday until next Wednesday, Guatemala will remain in mourning and the departments of Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez are declared in a state of public calamity for at least 30 days, a measure that Congress ratified to accelerate the arrival of resources and machinery in the next few hours in the worst-hit areas.

It is still impossible to know the total number of missing persons and it may take weeks, perhaps, to arrive at the terrible truth. (Prensa Latina)