Volcano erupts in Guatemala burying towns in ash and lava Photos

Guatemala volcano death toll up to 62 expected to rise

Once-green hillsides, villages, and farms are now covered in complete grey after the Volcan de Fuego sent avalanches of super-heated muck over the area Sunday.

The volcano shot ash and gas several kilometres up into the sky, which then fell back down and left debris across areas more than 15 kilometres away.

The Associated Press spoke with Lilian Hernandez, who has 36 family members missing and presumed dead - aunts, uncles, cousins, her grandmother and two great-grandchildren in the town of San Miguel Los Lotes.

The volcano is one of Central America's most active, and everyone was accustomed to rumbling and spewing smoke.

It is Guatemala's deadliest volcanic eruption for more than a century.

Dozens of people were seen walking along roadsides carrying children or a few belongings beside paralysed traffic in parts of Escuintla township south of the volcano.

"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".

Authorities in Guatemala have released otherworldly photos of the area around a recently-erupted volcano covered in white ash, as nearly 300 people are declared missing or dead after an eruption.

A rescue worker pauses amid the attempt to save people hurt or displaced in the eruption.

A man whose rescue in the town of El Rodeo was shown on video as he was pulled out caked in mud with third-degree burns over 50% of his body died at a hospital on Wednesday, according to the country's social security institute.

A baby miraculously survived after a house was covered in ash. "I have three children, a grandchild, and all my brothers, my mother, all my family are there".

Firefighters said the chance of finding anyone alive amid the still-steaming terrain was practically non-existent 72 hours after the volcanic explosion on Sunday. Boiling water flowing down the volcano's slopes from dangerously hot volcanic gas and ash also posed a threat. Rescuers struggled to reach people where homes and roads were charred and blanketed with ash. "To see people suffering like this is hard on them". The threat of more eruptions continues, as the number of people evacuated has risen to more than 12,000.

Guatemala's National Institute of Forensic Sciences raised the death toll to 99 late in afternoon, an increase of 24 bodies for the day.

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