As you all know by now, the volcano Fuego erupted on June 4th. This was a big one, in fact, the largest eruption in some 40 years. It sent pyroclastic flows and hot mud streaming down the hillsides that covered a famous resort called La Reunion and several villages south of the volcano. It also sent ash and sand thousands of feet in the air.
Those of us who live here are used to Fuego and the other volcanos erupting, sometimes on a daily basis. That said, this was an awesome event, and it carried great tragedy. Some 2,000 families were displaced and the death toll is unknown as the most impacted areas are still not reachable.
I write this to thank you all for your prayers and support for our effort with the water filters and the future resettlement efforts with these families.
I also write to bring this event into perspective. On the news and looking at videos and pictures, it seems like all of Guatemala has blown up. It hasn’t. Antigua does have quite a bit of ash, with Guatemala City having less. Relief efforts for the displaced seemingly are orderly and have gone rather well. Our Executive Director in Guatemala, José Luís, and I visited Alotenango yesterday, where many of you have visited or worked and which is at the foot of Fuego and now is the center for the evacuees. In addition to the emergency effort, life was going on as usual, with shops open and kids playing.
Other parts of the country haven’t been impacted at all and electricity and basic services are normal. While addressing a real tragedy, the relief effort has medical clinics, places for the families to stay, and are working with us with clean water and hopeful they can use our help in the resettlement issues.
Let me be clear, this is a real tragedy but our mission goes on, just with added work. Your financial and volunteer support for this almost 35-year effort is deeply appreciated on this end and by the people we serve. May God bless these people and our work.
Founder + President