It has been 8 days since Fuego’s first and most destructive of several eruptions last week. Relief aid is pouring into the shelters and to cutoff communities directly impacted, but the future is very uncertain for those who call Fuego’s shadow home. Thanks to all of you who have given to help support the victims in returning to — and for some, eventually finding a new — “normal”.
Last Friday, Nina from Vamos Adelante and World Central Kitchen ( https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/chefsforguatemala-update) delivered 700 meals to people in La Ceylan, a cutoff village high up on the side of Fuego. World Central Kitchen returned to Ceylan on Saturday with 1,200 more meals and will bring 1,000 more today.
Nina reported: “Friday morning I left with friends from World Central Kitchen towards Ceylan. Their cooks and volunteers had prepared 700 wonderful, hot meals plus sandwiches, which we personally wanted to deliver to children, elderly and the disabled. However, another eruption made this trip a bit complicated. The rivers were filling up with muddy water and that was not a good sign. It is the rainy season and means that they fill up fast and are not passable. We decided to have a pickup sent down from Ceylan to meet us about 40 minutes away from the village. There [on the side of the dirt road], we handed the food over to our [Vamos Adelante] promoters, Felina and Glenda.” Felina and Glenda had pre-organized the village to receive the food and so returned to distribute the food to a line of Ceylan families waiting for a meal. The food was served in the Vamos Adelante school.
The good news is that an enormous amount of generosity and care is pouring in to the affected area in the form of food, clothing, and other basic needs as families, communities and governing structures are still reeling from the sudden disaster. International expert advice on disaster relief is arriving in the country today to help guide and coordinate the national recovery process. Nina and other local NGO directors met this morning in Antigua to develop a plan to coordinate with each other while aiding the recovery process.
The bad news is that the long-term and widespread repercussions of the eruption are becoming more and more obvious. Many surrounding communities were not wiped out by the pyroclastic flow and have not evacuated, but they were showered in large amounts of ash. Throughout the area, metal roof panels have been severely damaged and crops (primary food sources) are destroyed. We are up-ing our funding goal to support Vamos Adelante in anticipation of these long-term needs. For example, black beans and corn (for tortillas) seeds and related farming products are needed to replant the lost crops as families’ savings allotted to planting was spent on the crops that were destroyed.
Below are some recent photos of on-the-ground views of the shocking damage in San Miguel Los Lotes and of the Vamos Adelante team distributing food with the World Central Kitchen over the weekend.