Rescue efforts were suspended in Guatemala after the eruption of its Fuego volcano on Tuesday afternoon after it spewed out a fresh torrent of volcanic matter.
Meanwhile, hundreds of villagers and rescue workers were evacuated just before the latest powerful pyroclastic flow - a rapid moving mixture of gas and volcanic matter - was discharged down the south side of the volcano as a towering plume of smoke rose into the grey sky.
The official death toll so far stands at 70, but hundreds - possibly thousands - of people remain unaccounted for from the communities who lived on the volcano's foothills where it's been too hot and dangerous for rescue workers to even get close.
The last census was conducted in 2002, so authorities have no updated information about who lived in the surrounding settlements.
In the meantime, there are 58 people in hospital with third-degree burns, the health ministry announced by Tuesday night.
Fuego erupted without warning just before noon on Sunday, giving families little or no time to escape the torrent of molten lava, rocks and toxic fumes as the flow engulfed entire settlements. In contrast, a piercing alarm was sounded on Tuesday afternoon to alert people of the impending hazard.
The 12,000-foot volcano, less than 31 miles west of the capital, has erupted on and off since 2002.
Although it's monitored by volcanologists but the build-up of energy which triggered Sunday's explosion caught scientists by surprise.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team