This past week has been heartbreaking for our team and the people of Guatemala. We watched Volcán de Fuego erupt, an active volcano whose lava sometimes lights up the night sky. For locals, small daily eruptions and a little lava flow is normal, but ‘Volcano of Fire’ has not had an explosion of this magnitude since 1974.
Last Sunday the explosion was so powerful that the emissions buried entire villages and killed unexpecting residents. Volcán de Fuego ejected a deadly mixture of toxic gas, ash and rock at speeds of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) per hour. Known as ‘pyroclastic flow’, the lethal composition reached temperatures that exceeded 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
We immediately took action, receiving funds from abroad. Many Guatemalans in the USA needed a channel to get money into their country and used Hiptipico as an avenue. Others who traveled to Guatemala or read about the news wanted to contribute to the relief efforts. We received a multitude of thoughtful messages and generous donations. We consider it a privilege to be trusted with these contributions and are dedicated to ensuring every dollar is used where it is needed most.
We spent the initial days following the eruption, purchasing emergency supplies and essentials such as food, water, diapers, feminine products and non perishables. As monetary donations continued to come in, we followed the need and purchased more medical supplies. This included basic medicine, dust masks, gloves, bandages, burn cream, wet wipes, and work boots. Within 24 hours, these supplies were dispatched to the epicenter via our partners UtzBox in Antigua, Guatemala. Your contributions have successfully made it directly to the emergency centers closest to the volcano eruption site.
As the situation continues to unfold, evacuation efforts have been made increasingly difficult with the volcano erupting a second time, three days later. Thousands of people, including rescue workers, have been forced to evacuate to safer areas. 1.7 million people have been affected by Volcán de Fuego, including those who have tragically lost their lives.
The death toll is now in the hundreds and the number of displaced people is in the thousands. And not to mention, there are still many missing out there. The destruction caused by the eruption is far reaching and has left countless Guatemalans concerned for missing friends and family members.
Relief workers and displaced families have been inundated with emergency supplies, including those donated by our selfless followers and friends. We couldn’t have made these essential contributions without your help. We are intent on using the remaining donations and any future donations to assist survivors with the reconstruction of their devastated homes, schools and roadways. Once the news stops reporting and a few weeks pass, there will still be significant rebuilding needed. It is crucial that we consider the displaced families and make sure they receive the long term support to completely rebuild their lives.
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We call Guatemala home and are committed to doing all we can to aid in the recovery of the affected communities. We are humbled by the kindness and generosity of local Guatemalans and friends of Hiptipico worldwide. Thank you and be sure to follow along for updates from the ground!