June 3rd saw the beginning of the eruption of Volcán de Fuego or the Volcano of Fire. This catastrophe has destroyed several communities in Guatemala. The town of El Rodeo has been covered, with houses demolished by volcanic ash, debris from lahars and the enormous pyroclastic flows. This has led to the tragic deaths of an estimated 112 people and local sources claim at least 2000 have been severely affected.
The effects of volcanic ash are well known, it can lead to burning and should it get into your lungs, it can lead to suffocation. For these reasons, medical aid, shelter, food, and clothing are needed. None of which are being provided by the Guatemalan government. President Jimmy Morales has claimed there is no aid available and has actively taken motions do deny other countries from providing aid. Later, it was found, that state officials have been poaching aid from volunteer-run aid and emergency shelters. This shows a government, lacking in competence, thieving from those donating and lacking the humanity to help its own citizen and denying others from providing aid.
The above is the makings of a large-scale humanitarian crisis in Guatemala, it all remains the job of the international community to ensure that the people of Guatemala feel support and can rebuild their lives. Burnaby South Secondary School grade 12 students have held a fundraiser and sent messages of support to the people of Guatemala but the work doesn’t stop there. CoDevelopment Canada is working with the Women’s Association of the development of Sacatepéquez who are providing clothing, food, bedding and, shelter in affected municipalities but they do require donations.
To show your support, for the people fighting for their survival in Guatemala, please donate through, CoDevelopment Canada. You can do this by calling 778 874 0539, ext. 111 to donate with a card, or mail a cheque to CoDev with ‘Guatemala Volcano Relief’.