No one can truly anticipate a pending natural disaster or the potential destruction one might bring. On June 3rd, the people of Guatemala were not an exception. As Volcano Fuego erupted, heavy ash, lava, and pyroclastic flows filled and devastated the surrounding area, the volcano would further continue to emit seismic activity, generating volcanic mud flows from June 5th to the 7th, inhibiting immediate rescue attempts. In addition, heavy and continuous rainfall and the resulting mudslides further limited humanitarian access nearest to the volcano.
As of June 13, at least 110 people have been declared dead, 197 missing, thousands injured and many more displaced. This tragedy is further exemplified when you consider that many Guatemalans had little economic prosperity beforehand and amidst this disaster, lost everything they had with virtually nothing upon which to rebuild.
Tragedy however, can also bring out the best in us. CAUSE Canada, one of several international organizations was able to bring immediate aid, providing trained health care professionals to tend to the injured. On June 8, our Guatemalan team arrived in the southern city Esquintla and met with Cruz Roja to determine areas of immediate response.
Our team of doctors and nurses provided critical health services in the many shelters throughout the city as well as in the Cruz Roja clinic.
While the bulk of the disaster is over, the aftermath remains. Over 12,000 people have been displaced and many who have lost what little possessions they had. CAUSE Canada is still accepting donations for Guatemala, which will go towards further immediate relief as well as long-term support as families begin to rebuild their lives. Thank you to those who have already donated! We are grateful for your support.