Golden Valley Nonprofit Helps Volcano Victims In Guatemala
A Golden Valley nonprofit is beefing up its relief efforts in Guatemala after a deadly volcano erupted June 3 and again June 6. More than 110 people died and hundreds are missing.
The Fuego volcano, which means volcano of fire, is located 25 miles southwest of the capital– Guatemala City. Golden Valley nonprofit The God’s Child Project has operated in the Central American country for about 30 years.
“Worst Natural Disaster”
“This is the worst natural disaster to hit Guatemala in over 100 years,” said Emily Schaefbauer with The God’s Child Project. “There’s nothing left for thousands of people.”
A pyroclastic flow, which is fast-moving mixtures of hot gas and volcanic matter, ran down mountainsides, burying everything in its path.
“They can’t use anything they had before because everything is toxic, everything is covered in toxic ash that’s full of chemicals,” explained Schaefbauer.
People lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.
“Once the ash mixes with water it creates almost like a cement. So, lots of the villages are just buried,” said Shannon Hollanitsch, coordinator with The God’s Child Project.
Guatemala Recovery and Assistance Efforts
The God’s Child Project helped build several schools, a children’s hospital and a homeless shelter. The homeless shelter turned into an emergency center for volcano victims. Hollanitsch described the scene as cramped and overcrowded.
“We have over 100 people staying there with their extended families, we’ve actually run out of space. Our staff built temporary shelters and tents in the yard to make more room.”
Besides food and clothing, they’re also providing psychological assistance and rebuilding homes. The group is collecting donations for victims. Donations include shirts and hygiene products, but they could really use more suitcases.
“We use suitcases to transport all the donations down there and then when the suitcases run out, we donate them to a family and they will use it for a dresser,” said Schaefbauer.
Volunteers with The God’s Child Project say this will be a very long recovery. They are looking for more volunteers and donations. Check out their website for more information. http://www.GodsChild.org