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Guatemala emergency agency accused of ignoring volcano Fuego warnings

Staff Writer |
Guatemalan politicians are blaming the country's emergency response agency for ignoring warnings ahead of the eruption of Mount Fuego.

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Almost 100 people have died and another 200 are missing after the eruption blanketed nearby villages in ash and sent fast-moving toxic pyroclastic flows down into communities.

Politicians in Guatemala are calling for Sergio Cabañas, the head of disaster agency Conred, to resign.

Congressman Mario Taracena said Cabañas bore a "great responsibility for what happened."

"Anyone with a little common sense would have done something," Taracena said. "They did not care and they did not take precautions."

Eddy Sanchez, director of the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology, said his agency notified several bulletins ahead of the eruption.

Conred said it was not given enough information to properly evaluate the risk.

Out of about 100 bodies recovered so far, only 25 have been identified.

Searchers are looking for the missing amid fears heavy rain could next cause landslides.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration said in a statement Thursday his government will send emergency aid to help meet food, water, and sanitation needs.

"The United States is also sending aircraft to assist in transporting burn victims of this terrible event for treatment in Texas," the White House said. "We will continue to coordinate with the Guatemalan government to provide further aid where needed."

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