The United States an­nounced it was send­ing emer­gency aid

StarMetro Vancouver - - CANADA -

Res­cuers sus­pended search and re­cov­ery ef­forts Thurs­day at vil­lages dev­as­tated by the erup­tion of Gu­atemala’s Vol­cano of Fire, leav­ing peo­ple with miss­ing loved ones dis­traught and prompt­ing some to do the risky work them­selves with rudi­men­tary tools.

Conred, the na­tional dis­as­ter agency, said cli­matic con­di­tions and still-hot vol­canic ma­te­rial were mak­ing it dan­ger­ous for res­cuers, and it was also tak­ing into ac­count the fact that 72 hours had passed since Sun­day’s erup­tion.

That’s the win­dow be­yond which of­fi­cials ear­lier said it would be ex­tremely un­likely to find any sur­vivors amid the ash, mud and other de­bris that buried homes up to their rooftops.

“It rained very hard yes­ter­day ... The soil is un­sta­ble,” said Pablo Castillo, a spokesper­son for na­tional po­lice.

Trou­ble­some down­pours and more vol­canic ac­tiv­ity had been hin­der­ing searches, but when teams have been able to work in the hard­est hit ar­eas, the death toll has con­tin­ued to tick up­ward. The num­ber of con­firmed dead was raised by 10 to 109 in the early evening, with about 200 more be­lieved to be miss­ing.

Gu­atemalan pros­e­cu­tors or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether emer­gency pro­to­cols were fol­lowed prop­erly, as many res­i­dents were caught with lit­tle or no time to evac­u­ate thes­

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