The death toll from a massive volcano eruption in Guatemala has risen to 109.
The eruption on Sunday was the volcano’s most violent in four decades, after dangerous flows of ash, rocks and toxic gases prompted panicked locals to evacuate.
However there are as many as 200 people still missing from the eruption and many family members assume they are dead.
Search and rescue efforts were formally suspended on Thursday due to hazardous conditions, though authorities said they could resume if the situation improves.
On Friday afternoon, the Garcia family buried five relatives who died in the eruption which has sunk many homes in brown ash.
Concepcion Garcia, a farm worker, said: “I sometimes think that this is like a dream, but this is the reality.”
He helped to bury his brother at a cemetery in Escuintla near the volcano’s base.
In two of the canyons where flows have accumulated, columns of ash rose as high as 19,700 feet (6,000 meters), according to a Friday morning statement from Guatemala’s volcanic institute.
Guatemala volcano eruption: Rescuers continue to search for the missing
Guatemala volcano eruption: Funerals have been held for the dozens killed during Sunday’s eruption
“The (flows) carry hot vapor, including fine particles similar to cement, two- to three-meter (6.5- to 10-foot) diameter rocks and tree trunks dragged out by the current,” the statement added.
The flows sparked panic among rescue workers still in the area, as well as volunteers and police.
“If the search is not going to be continued (authorities) should send us help because even if it’s just bones, we want our families back,” said Eufemia Garcia, 47, a housewife.
She estimated 50 members of her extended family are still missing.
Guatemala volcano eruption: More than 100 have been killed by the deadly eruption
Along a closed highway that connects the towns of El Rodeo and San Miguel los Lotes, two of the towns badly affected, around 25 people, many with picks and shovels, waited to resume the search for the missing.
The U.S. government said it was sending emergency aid at Guatemala’s request, while Mexican authorities sent doctors to help survivors with severe burns.
At least seven of whom, in critical condition, were transferred across the border into Mexico.
While Hawaii’s Kilauea’s volcano has produced extremely hot and relatively slow moving lava flows, which have engulfed hundreds of structures but allowed people to evacuate, Guatemala’s Fuego ejected much more dangerous pyroclastic flows, which kill everything in their path because they travel so fast and so far.