Toxic flow from Guatemala volcano cutting off access to fresh water

ESCUINTLA, Guatemala At least 99 people have been killed and nearly 200 are missing after the Volcano of Fire erupted in Guatemala over the weekend. The U.S. Air Force is airlifting several injured children to the U.S. for medical treatment, while search crews are trying to recover the bodies of victims.

In San Miguel Los Lotes, eight to ten feet of volcanic ash buried homes and people. Rescuers are still digging, but not for survivors. They just hope to give dignity to families hoping to bury their dead.

Volunteer firefighters search for victims of Sunday’s Fuego Volcano eruption in Alotenango, a municipality in Sacatepequez Department, southwest of Guatemala City on June 6, 2018.

Orlando Estrada / AFP/Getty Images

Those who survived left behind evidence of their escape. After the eruption, people say they had to build an impromptu bridge over hot ashes to try and get the injured the help they need. They used cinder blocks and parts of tin roofs, even wooden planks.  

The toxic flow from Sunday’s eruption rushed through areas it had never reached before, surprising and trapping entire neighborhoods, and cutting off access and fresh water to others. CBS News spoke to some residents who recently got much-needed food and water.

An estimated 1.7 million people have been affected by the disaster, and the volcano remains active as crews continue the painstaking work.

On Wednesday, workers pulled several bodies from the rubble, including one described as a child. The threat of more eruptions continues, as the number of people evacuated has risen to more than 12,000.

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