According to official statistics, several thousand affected people are now living in more than 20 shelters near the Fuego Volcano and 140 tons of relief goods are on the way to be delivered to the people.
“We now focus on assistance at the first stage that is to distribute food, clothes and other daily necessities to people in the shelters. We also started yesterday (Thursday) to send food and drinkable water to people who are yet to be evacuated in the affected region,” said Abraham Rivera, mayor of Escuintla — one of the hardest-hit cities.
The Fuego Volcano, about 50 kilometers west of Guatemala City, exploded on June 3. The death toll of the eruption had climbed to 109 as of Thursday, with nearly 200 people still missing and over 1.71 million affected.
Following the eruption, the country’s president Jimmy Morales declared a state of emergency in Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepequez — the three hardest-hit regions. The congress gave the president green light to use 192 million quetzals (approx. 25.66 million U.S. dollars) from an emergency fund to assist those affected and to repair infrastructure damage.
However, it is still far from enough. Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel said on Friday that the country is in urgent need of tents, food, personal cleaning products and medical assistance.
On the same day, the Foreign Ministry also called for international aid.
Medical supplies and personnel from Mexico arrived in Guatemala Friday morning and seven severely injured persons have been transferred to Mexico for further medical treatment. Germany has donated 60,000 U.S. dollars and will continue providing technical support.
“The president has figured out short-, medium- and long-term plans for post-disaster relief and restoration and now we also need to adopt a correct and effective mechanism to distribute goods and funds we have raised in an open, transparent, disciplinary, orderly and reasonable way,” said Carlos Vidal, Vice Minister of Social Development of Guatemala.