On the morning of June 3, Volcán de Fuego, located around 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the NPH Guatemala home, erupted and caused volcanic explosions which left several towns covered in wet ash. We thankfully report that the children, staff and volunteers in the NPH Guatemala home are safe, calm and well, and damages have not been reported to date. The local team also followed up with each of the families that are part of the NPH OneFamily program; fortunately, none of the families live in the areas affected by the eruption and all are confirmed to be okay. A significant amount of wet ash blanketed the NPH home, and NPH staff has been working to clear it away.
The local authorities have found over 60 people dead, including a number of children and youths. The number of fatalities is thought likely to be higher, because at least one community in the department of Escuintla was completely buried by volcanic ash. CONRED, the national disaster recovery body, has reported that so far 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption, 3, 271 have been evacuated, and a further 2,000 people have been moved to shelters. Part of the transport infrastructure has been destroyed or badly damaged.
This is the second time in 2018 that this volcano has erupted, according to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH). Authorities indicate that the ash columns reached 19,600 feet (6,000 meters) above sea level, marking the highest in the volcano’s history. The rain of ash extended to the following departments: Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, Guatemala City, El Progreso, and Zacapa. The Departmental Delegation of Education of Sacatepéquez suspended the classes for all the educational centers; the NPH Guatemala school is currently closed as well.
The entire country is on orange alert and the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango (the location of the NPH Guatemala home Casa San Andrés) are on red alert.
- Has become a collection center in Parramos, receiving a variety of goods for distribution to the affected communities.
- Is distributing a range of supplies to cover essential needs of people affected by the disaster.
- Is looking into the possibility of supporting a number of communities in
Escuintla, which so far have remained without outside support.
- Has provided masks to people in the community that were cleaning their streets and homes.
- Is delivering food to people affected by the volcano via disaster recovery services based in Alotenango, and has been working to identify the more specific, urgent needs that the community has.
- Will provide support to children living in shelters via the Youth Development Group, Religion Department and Volunteers.
The situation will become more difficult in some weeks when the flow of aid reduces and requirements are growing. Please join us in praying for those in Guatemala affected by this natural disaster and make a donation or fundraise for our relief efforts.
ABOUT NPH USA
NPH USA transforms the lives of vulnerable children in Latin America and the Caribbean by supporting the homes, health services and educational programs of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”). Together, we help children overcome poverty and become leaders in their own communities. NPH is currently supporting more than 6,200 boys and girls in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. In addition, our community outreach programs provided over 140,000 services in 2017.