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Guatemala: Survivors of volcano disaster “will need long-term support”

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Guatemala
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IFRC
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Panama/Geneva, 12 June 2018 – With 109 people now known to have been killed in the Fuego volcano disaster, and with 1.7 million people still at risk, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is putting long-term plans in place to support the survivors.

The first eruption of the Fuego volcano on Sunday 3 June killed 109 people and injured 58 others. Nearly 200 people are still missing, and more than 12,000 people are still unable to return to their communities.

Walter Cotte, IFRC’s Regional Director for the Americas, said: “Guatemala Red Cross volunteers are still working round the clock to give care and assistance to the survivors, who will need long-term support to recover from this devastating eruption.

“The full scale of this disaster is not yet clear. We know that up to 1.7 million people may be affected by the eruption’s impact on human health, water sources, crops, livestock – everything communities depend on for their livelihoods. We will be with the survivors for as long as they will need us.”

IFRC has launched an Emergency Appeal seeking more than two million Swiss francs to fund Guatemala Red Cross and IFRC programming in support of 6,000 of the most vulnerable survivors for 12 months. The money will boost Guatemala Red Cross operations in health and psychosocial support, cash-based assistance in livelihoods and basic needs, disaster risk reduction, and shelter.

The eruption of the volcano, which lies 40km south-west of the capital Guatemala City, sent deadly pyroclastic flows and ash across a ten-kilometre radius. Emergency teams from the Guatemala Red Cross responded immediately – giving medical care to survivors, taking wounded people to hospital, and setting up blood services and relief donation centres across the capital, Guatemala City.

More than 1,600 volunteers are still caring for families who were evacuated from the danger zone.