The initial impact of the disaster was staggering. Approximately 3,000 people were evacuated and 99 confirmed dead (that number is expected to rise, officials fear, perhaps reaching hundreds). More than 200 are reported missing. An entire village was completely destroyed by lava flow. It is the most severe volcanic eruption in Guatemala in more than 100 years.
Fortunately, previously shipped food and medical supplies from Cross were being stored in the area, so when the disaster struck, the ministry’s in-country partner was “ready to go.” Over 178,000 meals were delivered directly to the survivors beginning June 4, along with medicines including 6,000 tubes of burn cream which were vital because burns have been the number one injury of survivors.
“In a sudden, unexpected disaster like this, time is of essence,” said Cross International President James J. Cavnar. “Unlike hurricanes which develop slowly, providing days and even weeks to prepare, the sudden volcanic interruption in Guatemala happened with little warning. But Cross has long had connections and systems for distribution in Guatemala, so we are able to deal with almost any contingency. Visit CrossInternational.org.