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Search for El Fuego eruption survivors focuses on mountain hamlets

Search for El Fuego eruption survivors focuses on mountain hamlets

CONRED expects 1.7 million people to be affected by the eruption, with some fleeing just ahead of fast-moving lava flows that reached 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.

At a shelter in the Murray D. Lincoln school in the city of Escuintla, about 10 miles (15 kilometres) from the volcano's peak, Alfonso Castillo said he and his extended family of 30 had lived on a shared plot in Los Lotes where each family had its own home. The only thing they did not yet have was information on the unidentified bodies, but would be adding that as it became available, he said.

Villages on the slopes were buried in volcanic ash and mud.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said they have released more than 250,000 Swiss francs ($253,446) from its global emergency fund to support frontline emergency efforts. "They are taking away our opportunity to say goodbye".

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Firefighters' spokesperson Julio Sanchez said Tuesday that 72 hours after Sunday's eruption there will be little chance of finding anyone alive. Rescuers are still struggling to locate people due to homes and roads being completely covered in volcanic ash. Rescuers wearing hard hats, masks and goggles used shovels to dig through homes, unearthing at least one body burned beyond recognition.

"He is called Rambo", said volunteer firefighter Sergio Vazquez, who carried the dog on his shoulders to safety.

Vazquez had no explanation for how the dog survived while the people died. Numerous victims are unrecognisable, with officials warning that DNA testing and other methods may be needed to identify them.

Officials are also anxious that rain in the forecast could trigger mudslides like one in the San Pedro Soloma area that killed 12 people a year ago, and another that struck in the mountain Village of El Cambray in October 2015 that killed 280 people and destroyed more than 200 homes. One More Child's Vice President Andrew Tattrie said members have been keeping the organization up to date with what's happening. Some 46 people were injured, around half of whom are in serious condition, it said. Over the years, the volcano is known for strombolian activity, which means it can produce moderate eruptions.