Description of the disaster
On 3 June 2018, Guatemala’s 3,763-metre (12,346 feet) Fuego Volcano erupted, emitting an eight-kilometre (five-mile) stream of hot lava and a dense plume of black smoke and ash that blanketed Guatemala's capital city and other regions. This eruption affected 43 communities in the departments of Sacatepéquez, Escuintla, and Chimaltenango as well as their capital cities.
According to Guatemalan authorities, 12,823 people were evacuated from the affected area, of which 1,398 were housed in collective centres and schools and approximately 1000 families in Temporary Single-Family Dwellings (ATUs in spanish).This emergency left 27 people injured, 260 people missing, and more than 200 deaths.Falling ash affected the crops and therefore the livelihoods of 16,932 small-scale farmers in Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango, damaging coffee, maize, bean, vegetable, and fruit crops as well as small livestock production.
The columns of ash covered these three departments, although the greatest accumulation of ash and sand was seen in Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez.
The ash particles and incandescent tephra that fell on crops damaged leaves, flowers, and fruits. The most affected were the families that engage in subsistence farming of maize and beans on leased land, as well as those work as day labourers in big farms and earn less than minimum wage. The damage caused to coffee grown by small-scale producers was significant, as coffee production sold to intermediaries in general is their only source of income. This was compounded by low coffee prices.
The loss of maize and bean crops affected food security conditions in 2019. Families lost their harvests, as ash destroyed the plants in flower. This situation was worsened and compounded by an extended dry season that caused sudden changes in temperature and shortage of water for irrigation. Furthermore, ash and larger volcanic material continues to fall on the land cultivated by communities located around the Fuego volcano.
Based on its damage assessment and needs analysis, the National Society prioritized humanitarian actions in the following areas:
• Gender-based violence protection.
• Livelihoods • Health.
• Psychosocial support • Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
• Restoration of family links • Dignified management of dead bodies.
• Disaster risk management.
• Institutional strengthening • Humanitarian aid distribution
Summary of the response
Overview of Host National Society Response Action The National Society has 200 staff members, 21 branches and more than 2000 volunteers (1100 man y 900 woman) across the country. Guatemalan Red Cross (GRC) has implemented cash and voucher assistance (CVA) programmes in its last two Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) operations, one of which was completed in late December 2017. It was well received by the target community.
From 3 June 2018, with support from national and international donors, GRC provided effective and timely response to prevent and alleviate the suffering of the population affected by the emergency by dividing its actions into a response phase and a recovery phase. The following actions were carried out during the response phase:
• Provided psychological first aid support to 3,928 individuals.
• Made 152 transfers to assistance centres.
• Conducted one day of voluntary blood donation, collecting and delivering 232 units of blood to blood banks in national hospitals.
• Supported the dignified management of more than 160 dead bodies.
• Provided 240 Restoration of Family Links (RFL) services.
• Provided medical care to 6,150 individuals.
• Provided psychosocial support (PSS) to 830 individuals.
• Provided pre-hospital care to 278 individuals • Trained 2,485 individuals through hygiene promotion and sexual and reproductive health education sessions.
• Provided water and sanitation support through installation of 33 water tanks in the communities of El Rodeo, Santa Rosa, La Reyna and El Rancho; 61 showers in collective centres; and distribution of 45,826 gallons of water (173,222.28 litres) for human consumption.
• Distributed 2,640,000 litres of water for human consumption in the communities of El Rodeo, Santa Rosa, La Reina and El Rancho in Escuintla.
• Repaired two community water conduction systems through the installation of 600 meters of PVC pipes with 250-PSI capacity.
• Designed and installed 70 household rainwater collection systems (tanks) in the community of Rochela,
• Opened 16 aid collection centres nationwide.
• Assisted 1,218 families through a cash-based intervention (CBI): 739 families with Appeal funds and 479 families with funds from other donors.
• Provided humanitarian aid to 8,958 families.
• Delivered 7,756 food kits • Delivered 4,183 hygiene kits.
• Delivered 970 shelter kits to the Temporary Single-Family Dwelling (ATU) Collective Centre.
• Managed 161 dead bodies.
• Assisted with management of ten collective centres for four months.
During the recovery phase, GRC worked in a comprehensive manner to provide response and support to families affected by the volcano's eruption to strengthen communities' resilience. The following actions were carried out during this phase:
• Provided medical care to 8,900 individuals • Reached 12,255 individuals through the health sector • Provided psychosocial support to 1996 individuals.
• Trained 26 volunteers in PSS National Intervention Teams (NITs).
• Provided differentiated information on how to protect their lives to 2,225 individuals.
• Provided SGBV training to 1,812 individuals in collective centres.
• Trained 132 volunteers on minimum gender and diversity standards and basic gender training.
• Provided sexual violence prevention and gender training to 2,225 individuals • Provided gender-based violence prevention information services to 2,225 individuals through outreach and awareness activities.
• Produced 1480 sexual protection referral systems and brochures on gender violence and distributed to affected individuals during counselling sessions.
• Promoted hygiene, reproductive sexual health, livelihoods, food and nutrition, gender protection and social inclusion, vector control, complementary feeding, seed banks and infectious disease prevention through education sessions that reached 10,594 individuals.
• Assisted 507 families through meeting and provision of basic food needs, agricultural and livestock products, agricultural technical training and planting of vegetables and maize.
• Assisted 739 families to meet needs in terms of basic minimum basket indicator.
• Assisted 507 families through a cash-based intervention aimed at restoring food production in the home.
• Provided training on vocational skills and methods to increase incomes to 157 community members.
• Provided support to 137 families through materials and tools to restore their livelihoods.
• 137 family members actively participated in Livelihoods micro-project, in a practical way.
• Provided educational sessions on setting up vegetable gardens to 222 primary school children and 45 young people.
• Rehabilitated on community water conduction system through the provision of 2,800 metres of PVC pipes.
• Supported water quality improvements through the installation of eight automatic chlorination systems in the communities of San Rafael Sumatan, La Labor San José Chuachilil, Santa María Sibaja, Las Victorias,
Bethanea, Paraíso El Xab, Las Victorias, Monte Carmelo, San Pedro Yepocapa.
• Provided livelihoods training to 22 volunteers.
• Distributed 528,872.45 gallons of water for human consumption in the communities of La Soledad and El Campamento, Acatenango, Chimaltenango.
• Provided psychosocial support to 3,412 individuals.
• Prepared 606 qq of organic fertilizers in communities through compost heaps.
• Assisted with preparation of more than 600 household emergency plans in eight communities, with support from volunteers, teachers and technicians from the Municipal Risk Management Office.
• Provided information on formulating household response plans to 600 households.
• 20 schools have disaster preparedness plans.
• Distributed 30 teaching kits with materials in schools.
• Provided teaching kits, spinal splints, one inflatable bed and assistance with the formulation of school response plans to five schools prioritized during the second phase.
• Distributed 150 inflatable beds and 15 small emergency camping tents the disaster intervention team at the Municipal Risk Management Office (Escuintla).
• Assisted with the preparation of eight community disaster response plans • Trained 25 volunteers on “Protected Schools” • Performed eight community diagnostics using the VCA methodology.
• Prepared key prevention messages through a sensitization and humanitarian information campaign, creating an agenda-type graphic notebook (designed), informational pens, bag made from recycled materials, informational spots, brochures and informational water bottles, and distributed more than 1,000 didactic book kits to students.
• Trained 45 volunteers in Emergency Operations Centre management • Trained 24 volunteers in National Disaster Intervention Teams.