Latin America & Caribbean

Honduras buries victims of deadly Comayagua prison fire

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Media captionThe loved ones of inmate Hector Suazo paid their respects at his funeral service

Relatives of the victims of Tuesday's prison fire in Comayagua, Honduras have been mourning the dead.

Funerals have been held across the country for those whose bodies were released by forensic investigators.

Officials said the number of dead had risen to 358 after two badly burned victims died in hospital.

Honduran President Porfirio Lobo has ordered a safety review of all prisons as experts try to establish the causes of the blaze in the Comayagua prison.

Pathologists continue to try to identify the bodies of the victims, but said many were so badly burned they could only be identified through DNA testing.

So far, only 18 bodies have been released to their families for burial.

Deadly conditions

Of the 358 people who died, all but one were inmates. The other was the wife of a prisoner who had come to visit her husband.

Image caption Some relatives used pick-up trucks to transport the bodies of the victims to the cemetery

Forensic experts from Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico have joined their Honduran colleagues to try to speed up the identification process.

The United States has sent a team from its Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to help with the investigation into the causes of the fire.

ATF team member Jose Oquendo said they would stay "until the investigation is concluded, however long that may take".

The Honduran Ministry of Public Affairs said there had been 852 people inside the prison when the fire broke out on Tuesday.

The prison was at double its capacity and there were only six guards on duty.

Survivors described how they desperately struggled to save themselves as firefighters tried to find the guards who had the keys to the cells.

The prison had no emergency evacuation plan.

President Lobo said he would ensure measures would be taken to improve the situation in the country's 24 prisons, which hold more than 13,000 inmates.

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