Guatemala: Volcanic Eruption Situation Report No. 1 (as of 04 June 2018)
This report is produced by the Humanitarian Country Team in Guatemala, in collaboration with humanitarian partners, based on consolidated information from the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED), UN System via the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETE), NGOs and the Red Cross. It covers the period 3-4 June 2018. Further reports will be issued as needed.
On June 3rd, the Fuego volcano, located approximately 40 km from capital city of Guatemala City began erupting column of ashes and pyroclastic flows.
According to preliminary information provided by the national disaster authority (CONRED), 65 people were killed, 46 were injured, 3,271 people were evacuated and approximately 1,916 people are currently in shelters. More than 1.7 million people have been indirectly affected by the consequences of the eruption.
The most affected areas are: Chimaltenango, Sacatepéquez, Escuintla, Mixco and some areas of Guatemala City.
The Congress of the Republic declared a state of public emergency in the departments of Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepéquez.
The Aurora International Airport was closed due to the presence of volcanic sand, but is now operational.
CONRED is leading relief operations. There has been no request for international assistance, despite some areas being inaccessible.
Extensive needs assessments to identify critical needs are ongoing.
Preliminary needs have been identified in health, shelter and WASH sectors.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is actively monitoring the situation, ready to support national authorities.
On 3 June, the Fuego volcano erupted for the second time in 2018, launching columns of ash and pyroclastic flow some 15,000m above sea level and spreading west and southwest, according to a special bulletin issued by the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH).
Several areas reported the fall of ash and small rocks, including Chimaltenango, Sacatepéquez, Escuintla, Mixco and some areas in Guatemala City.
The debris generated by the thunderous explosions travelled some 40km, carried by westward winds, affecting the north-western, northern, and western areas of the country. Several moderate pyroclastic flows descended towards the areas of Seca, Ceniza, Mineral, Taniluya, Las Lajas and Barranca Onda.
Communities such as Sangre de Cristo, Finca Palo Verde, Panimaché I and II and others near the volcano were evacuated by the fire brigades, National Coordination for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) first response teams, Guatemalan armed forces personnel and other organizations who are providing aid in affected areas.
The National Directorate for Protection and Security (PROVIAL), in coordination with CONRED, national police forces and national transit police, shut down all traffic from Escuintla to Antigua due to the thick ash clouds and volcanic debris falling on the area. CONRED reports that they have heavy machinery on standby, but are currently unable to access the area.
The presence of both rainfall and ash present a threat due to the high potential of mudslides and clogged drainage, as well as inclement driving conditions that may cause accidents. There is also a high risk of contamination to fresh water sources in communities near the volcano due to the persistent ash that continues to fall.
First responders have been unable to access the villages of La libertad, Los lotes and El Rodeo remain and are attempting to reach other communities.
At the time of this report, the possibility of carrying out missions to identify critical needs in affected areas is being evaluated. Information related to the humanitarian impact of the disaster is thus far preliminary and highly subject to change.
CONRED has mobilized first response teams to affected areas, as well as Guatemalan Red Cross and military personnel, reporting that there are 1,200 people working on and around the volcano in search and rescue. At present, there is no detailed information regarding the number of people missing.
On 4 June, The Ministry of Education suspended classes in the departments of Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez as a preventive measure.
Given the high security risk in affected areas, drones are being used to evaluate the affected communities and gather information on whether there are people who need to be rescued and evacuated and how much heavy machinery will be required to deploy and for how long.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is coordinating with CONRED to identify areas for collaboration and support. At the time of this report, no request has for international assistance has been made.