Response Continues in Guatemala Following Deadly Volcano Blast

Direct Relief supporting local emergency response groups with critical medicines and medical supplies.


Fuego Volcano - Guatemala

Roads came to a standstill in areas of Guatemala devastated by the Fuego Volcano, which erupted earlier this week. (Courtesy photo)
Roads came to a standstill in areas of Guatemala devastated by the Fuego Volcano, which erupted earlier this week. (Courtesy photo)

The official death toll from Sunday’s deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala now stands at 109, with up to 200 people still missing. Rescue operations have been suspended due to continuing dangerous conditions and authorities are preventing people returning to the area. Thousands remain in evacuation centers.

Direct Relief is currently coordinating with the Pan American Health Organization, local partners, and pharmaceutical companies with manufacturing capacity in the region.

Direct Relief partner organization Fundación Proemigrant is one group working to distribute medical aid to injured and displaced people in Guatemala. (Photo courtesy of Fundación Proemigrant)

Direct Relief is working with local partners, including Nuestros Ahijados, Presbiterio Kaqchikel, and Fundación Proemigrant, which are all responding to needs of those displaced and injured by the volcanic eruption.

Prior to Sunday’s blast, medicines and other critical supplies had been staged for emergency response, and medical staff had immediate access to that inventory.

In times of emergency, people forced to flee their homes are often left without access to the medications they need to manage chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease. Direct Relief has been sending regular shipments of essential medicines to Guatemala for over 30 years, and the current supply of these medicines is being used to meet the medical needs of those displaced.

As the volcano disaster response transitions from the emergency to the recovery phase, Direct Relief will work closely with local partners to ensure they have what they need to continue providing health care to affected communities.

Guatemala has a history of significant natural disasters, including other volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes, and officials report that Sunday’s explosion is Fuego’s most devastating in over 40 years.
Direct Relief is funding the purchase of equipment for first responders, as well as sending other supplies needed to care for thousands of displaced people in the region.

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