A baby girl was carried out of a Guatemalan house buried in volcanic ash, as the death toll in the Central American country reached 69.
Un pedacito de esperanza. Que Dios la bendiga. Fuerza Guatemala pic.twitter.com/lVi8ABPmwB— Ricardo Arjona ® (@Ricardo_Arjona) June 4, 2018
Sunday's eruption of the Fuego volcano has burned across villages, buried residents in lava and ash and wiped out entire families.
"Even if there are only small bones of my people, I want them," Eva Ascon told CNN. "I don't even have one member of my family."
The baby girl rescued Monday was apparently unharmed and constituted one ray of hope in an otherwise dark and burning siege.
Towns have been engulfed by thick ash from the volcano's unexpected explosion. Hot gases and lava raced down the mountainsides and overran everything in their path.
In Alotenango, a town located east of the eruption, family members and rescue staff stood under a tent with caskets holding the remains of relatives. Hundreds later gathered to witness men carrying coffins on their shoulders in a funeral procession.
A sobbing woman who lives in the town of Los Lotes told CNN: "My mother's house was buried with my entire family inside... my three sons, two daughters and my grandson. My mother, my sisters, my nieces and nephews."
Searchers were hampered by dense smoke and ash that made breathing difficult, and by scorching ground soil that burned through the soles of their boots.
"It is very, very difficult due to the fact that it's very, very hot," volunteer firefighter Mario Cifuentes said Monday. "The soil is very unstable. We cannot be walking around... The shoes, they've been completely destroyed because of the heat."