If you've ever been to Guatemala, you probably visited Antigua.
And if you were in Antigua, and if the weather was clear, you were fascinated to watch the Fuego volcano puff gray clouds of ash all day, and glow orange at it’s tip at night.
Maybe you’ve seen some news - here it is if you haven’t - but Fuego erupted in a big way and for 16 hours yesterday. There was some slow-flowing lava like my sons used to poke sticks in when we lived there, and like I’ve seen on the news in Hawaii neighborhoods. But yesterday Fuego exploded with fast-moving pyroclastic flows, which can’t be outrun and which buried entire villages. The death toll is at 65 as I’m writing on Monday afternoon, , and at least 3000 people are living in shelters. It will probably get worse in the next few days as the army and EMTs finally reach all the affected areas.
We’ve learned over the years that Vine International’s role in emergencies is about the same role we take in development: we figure out who is doing good work in hard places, and we try to get them what they need. We know people who were working around these communities the day before Fuego erupted, and who will be working in these communities next year and the year after. We want to get them what they need so they can help people.
Guatemalans are helping each other. Supplies are coming in from Guatemala City and soon from neighboring countries. We’re putting together disaster relief kits for some ministries we work with in the affected areas. We’ll hear from our partners what they need the most, and we’ll either pull it off our shelves or go buy it. Masks, medicines, diapers, formula, bandages, burn dressing, brooms, sponges…a few years ago we used money you gave us and bought a brick making machine so that a village in Honduras could rebuild after a terrible earthquake and landslide. Today, on the day after the disaster, we don’t know exactly what our partners will need the most. But we’ll find out soon, and with your help we will be ready to help.
If you would like to help the thousands of people whose lives have been radically changed by this explosion, write a note on your donation and of course all of it will go to buy what they need.
Thanks for thinking of Guatemalans in need.