Fuego Volcano Relief and Recovery

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UPDATED: 09 JANUARY, 2019 at 08:00 AM

On June 3, 2018 around 12 PM the Fuego Volcano (located 30 miles from Guatemala City) erupted, spewing ash, rocks and gas into the air. This eruption is considered to be one of the strongest from the Fuego Volcano in more than a century. Hours later, a second powerful eruption followed at 6:45 PM.

As soon as the disaster happened, Habitat for Humanity Guatemala staff contacted partner families, local volunteer committee members, and others in the area. It was verified that all partner families and staff are well, but many other Guatemalans are affected. A Red Alert Emergency was declared for the affected departments of Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and Sacatepéquez and an Orange Alert for the remaining 19 departments was also put in place by the government.

CURRENT NUMBERS

  • Number of fatalities: 201
  • Number of injuries: 27
  • Missing persons: 229
  • Number of individuals affected: 1,714,387
  • Number of evacuees: 12,823
  • Number of individuals in temporary shelters: 8,866

During Stage 1, local Habitat Guatemala offices and volunteers collected medicine and supplies for survivors. In total we were able to attend 90 families with a kit consisting of dry goods, hygienic products, medicine, etc.

Out of the 12,000 individuals evacuated from their homes only an estimated 8,000 individuals sought shelter in the official government shelters, meaning that 4,000 individuals turned to family members or friends for a transitional space to live. In order to provide these families with a comfortable and adequate space, Habitat Guatemala determined that several Habitat products would help improve their living conditions. After surveying approximately 180 families who were living in such situations, products were distributed as follows:

WATER FILTERS

95% of the water in Guatemala is contaminated and this natural disaster only exacerbated the difficulty to obtain clean drinking water. To date Habitat Guatemala has delivered 52 water filters to host families in the areas of Escuintla and Alotenango.

CHISPA STOVES

Due to the presence of additional inhabitants in the host families’ homes, Habitat Guatemala deemed it necessary to provide additional tools to ease the preparation of meals. A Chispa stoves reduce wood use by approximately 50%, and also reduces smoke inhalation. To date Habitat Guatemala has delivered 50 Chispa stoves in the areas of Escuintla and Alotenango.

ECONOMIC VOUCHERS

Because many individuals lost their source of income/source of employment, Habitat Guatemala decided to provide both the host families and the affected families with a $75 voucher to support them with basic living expenses: food, hygienic products, etc. To date Habitat Guatemala has delivered 147 economic vouchers in the areas of Escuintla and Alotenango.

MERCY CORPS SUPPORT

With the help of Mercy Corps, Habitat Guatemala was also able to distribute the following products: 15 water tanks, 11 pilas (outdoor washing stations), and 210 cooking sets (plates, silverware, pots & pans).

Currently, Habitat Guatemala is in the stage of reconstructing homes for families who lost everything in the natural disaster. Although Habitat for Humanity’s typical structure consists of families making affordable mortgage payments, this catastrophe has compelled us to provide affected families with completely subsidized solutions. You can support us in the following way:

$14,000: LAND TITLE & PERMANENT HOUSING

Because land ownership is a requirement for Habitat homeowners in Guatemala, we have supported affected families by purchasing lots in an area called Valle de Las Flores in Palin, Escuintla. This area includes access to all basic services (water, drainage, electricity) and schools, job employment opportunities, and public transportation. The homes that will be constructed in this area consist of 49 square meters, 3 rooms, and a bathroom.

On December 12th, 2018 the first 16 homes were inaugurated. With these homes, 16 families will be able to spend the holidays in their safe new space, just six months after a tragedy that dramatically altered their lives. To support families as they transition into their new homes, we have provided different workshops on community harmony, financial education, and disaster response.

The second set of 13 homes are currently under construction, and will be complete in early 2019. In addition, 7 more lots have been purchased for construction next year. Habitat Guatemala is grateful for the support our response efforts have received, and we hope to continue providing additional families with permanent housing solutions as funding allows.

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