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Beneath the Ashes, 75 Bodies Found, Funerals Held as Guatemala Rescue Continues


Operation Blessing's Guatemala Director Geraldina Motta is in the volcano zone and tells how CBN is providing more than material relief to victims of Volcan de Fuego.

Rescuers digging through ash, rubble, and mud are uncovering the bodies of more victims-including children-two days after Volcan de Fuego erupted in Guatemala. 

The death toll now stands at 75 with 200 people missing.

On Tuesday families, neighbors, and friends held funerals for some of the victims.

Charred and covered in ash, many of the bodies of the victims were unrecognizable. Guatemalan forensic science officials say they may have to resort to using DNA samples to help them identify many of the dead. 

Combing through homes and businesses in some of the hardest hit mountain villages, rescuers are still hoping they will find survivors. 

Lava and ash-covered roads throughout the states of Chimaltenago, Escuintla and Sacatepequez have made many areas inaccessible. In several cases, government workers were forced to use helicopters for evacuating some of those rescued.  

On Tuesday, CBN's Operation Blessing Guatemala (OB Gautemala) sent relief workers to the community of El Rodeo, the town at ground zero where the worst devastation occurred.

The air quality in the area remains poor, so OB Guatemala provided people with medical masks to protect them from inhaling ash particles and microscopic debris still floating in the air from the volcanic eruption.

Masks were also distributed to 500 rescuers and firefighters on the scene in El Rodeo.

Also, OB Guatemala set up a mobile kitchen in the city to provide hot meals for rescuers and emergency responders. Volunteers delivered medical supplies, food, water and thousands of bags containing hygiene products, cereal, and other items to evacuees who are now living in government shelters. 

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