Guatemalan volcano update

This update was featured in Latinfile Autumn 2018

On 4 June 2018, we awoke to the devastating news of the Fuego Volcano eruption – the worst of its kind in Guatemala for over a century. For many in the surrounding areas of Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez, life changed dramatically, as loved ones went missing and ash destroyed homes.

Food, water and clothing were the immediate needs of those affected. But as the ash settled and the story faded from the press, the longer term impact also started to emerge.

Impact and aftermath

Many schools are completely suspended for the rest of the year, as displaced families need the buildings for temporary accommodation. Some have been allowed to return to evacuated areas to discover what remains of their homes.

No Latin Link members were harmed in the eruption, but many were affected by the huge amounts of ash and disruption that followed. They immediately tried to find out where help might most be needed.

Hope of life

One of the hardest hit areas was Alotenango, on the Sacatepéquez Escuintla border. This is the location of Latin Link partner organisation Associacion Esperanza de Vida (Hope of Life).

Latin Link’s Guatemala/Mexico Team leader Kate Moreno explains, ‘Many Step teams have visited this project and we have a strong relationship with them. So when supporters started to contact us, wanting to make donations, we got in touch with the leader, Pastor Juan Manuel Hernandez, to see if we could help.’

Incredible response If you have prayed for Guatemala or donated to the Fuego Appeal in the last few months, thank you. The initial response was amazing, raising £6,647 in the first few weeks and over £10,750 to date. In addition, nearby project Educando para la Vida (led by Latin Link’s Rodolfo Rodas) provided a lot of support.

This has helped Esperanza de Vida support 23 families whose homes were completely destroyed. In the short term, they were provided with basic cooking equipment, tables and chairs, and bedding. And so far, four temporary homes and one new permanent home have been built.

Next steps

It has been inspiring to watch how hard Guatemalans and local churches have been working to help their neighbours affected by the volcano. But they need more help. Within Latin Link, the whole Guatemala team have been involved, along with support from Latin Link International and the Peru team. In September, a Swiss Step team went out to help and a UK Step team may be going in the Spring.

Looking forward, Esperanza de Vida would love to buy land and build homes for 15 families, close enough to stay in their community, but far enough from the volcano to feel secure. However, this will need additional financial support.

If you would like to help fund the remaining houses, you can still give to the appeal:
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