Guatemala civil defence accused of ignoring eruption warnings

The head of Guatemala's civil defence agency is being accused of ignoring warnings from scientists that a volcanic eruption was imminent.

The bodies of 99 people have been recovered, but hundreds more are unaccounted for - and the thick blanket of volcanic ash covering the ground is now hardening.

Volcan de Fuego erupted on Sunday (local time). Its located only 40 kilometres from Guatemala's capital city.

CBS News reports 2.5-3m of ash lies on top of homes and people in San Miguel Lotes. It's so thick and hard it's hard to tell the difference between a dirt road and ash.

Rescuers are digging through it not hoping to find survivors, but instead the bodies of the dead. Anyone who did manage to escape the volcano left little evidence of their retreat.

The toxic flow from Volcan de Fuego rushed through areas it had never been, trapping entire neighbourhoods and cutting off access to fresh water.

An estimated 7 million people have been affected by the disaster, and crews have been forced to nervously work in dangerous areas while the volcano is still active.