Guatemala

Guatemala - Fuego volcano erupting
USAID is providing immediate humanitarian assistance to support relief efforts in Guatemala following the eruption of Fuego Volcano.
Johan Ordonez/AFP

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Key Developments

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance is providing $300,000 in humanitarian assistance to communities impacted by the eruption of Guatemala’s El Fuego volcano. Located about 25 miles southwest of Guatemala City, the “Volcano of Fire” began emitting strong eruptions of rock, ash, and gases, on June 3. The eruptions generated pyroclastic flows that extended more than 25 miles from the crater, according Guatemala’s National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology. More than 1.7 million people have been affected, according to the Government of Guatemala.

USAID’s assistance will help families displaced by Fuego’s largest eruption since 1974, with a focus on providing emergency relief items, technical assistance to local responders, and longer-term support to help people begin to rebuild their lives after this disaster.

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance has a small team of disaster experts on the ground in Guatemala, including a regional advisor who is monitoring humanitarian needs and helping to coordinate relief efforts; a disaster management specialist based in Guatemala who is in touch with Guatemala’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction; and locally-based disaster consultants who are monitoring developments and conducting damage assessments.

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance is also coordinating closely with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on assessing damage to the surrounding area and the ongoing status of Central America’s most active volcano. An engineer with the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program – which is jointly funded by USAID and USGS – is on the ground to provide technical guidance to Guatemala’s National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology.

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance has worked to help build local emergency response capacity in Guatemala through disaster risk reduction programs that trained emergency officials in preparedness and response planning, and conducting damage and humanitarian needs assessments.

Background

Guatemala is prone to a variety of natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Since 2006, USAID/OFDA has responded to eight disaster events in Guatemala. USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance  typically works with non-governmental organizations to meet humanitarian needs and complement government relief efforts. In addition to direct disaster assistance, USAID/OFDA supports ongoing disaster risk reduction activities and capacity building initiatives for disaster response in Guatemala and the larger Latin America and Caribbean region. For example, in 2012, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance donated urban search-and-rescue (USAR) equipment to CONRED and Guatemalan USAR teams as part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen national response capacity.

 

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Last updated: June 15, 2018

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