Guatemala: Volcanic Eruption Situation Report No. 5 (as of 29 June 2018)

Highlights

• Some 750 homes remain at risk (745 in Escuintla and 5 in Sacatepéquez) and 186 homes in Escuintla have been destroyed.

• Authorities declare communities near the Volcán de Fuego volcano in the departments of Escuintla and Sacatepéquez at high risk (see lahar threat map).

• According to an agricultural sector loss perception assessment, 16,932 small-scale farmers were affected by the fall of ash and sand in communities of the departments of Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango and Escuintla, with 13,611 hectares of crops affected, totaling an estimated economic loss of US$12,299,701.04

1,714,387 People affected

12,823 People evacuated

28 People injured

113 People killed

16 shelters

3,636 People sheltered

197 People missing

Situation Overview

The National Coordinator for Disaster (CONRED) and the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) continue to monitor the Volcán de Fuego volcano, which is still active as lahars continue to descend from the volcano due to the presence of heavy rain and accumulation of volcanic material.

According to technical and scientific evaluations carried out by the Scientific Council of CONRED, the Las Lajas, Seca, Taniluyá and Cenizas ravines, the community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla and the Finca La Reunión in San Juan in Alotenango, Sacatepéquez have all been declared high risk areas.
Areas declared under high threat:

• Finca Toledo and surrounding communities in Escuintla due to pyroclastic flows

• La Trinidad, La Reyna, El Rodeo and the municipality of Escuintla, as well as the El Porvenir an Alotenango villages in Sacatepéquez due to lahar flows.

• Areas affected by ash fall, depending on the direction of the wind.

• Some 69 communities due to high flood risk.

This information has been relayed to the Governors and Mayors of the aforementioned areas so that they can make decisions their respective departments and municipalities.

Although authorities have decided to stop searching and locating bodies in ground zero, the people who live in San Miguel Los Lotes and El Barrio continue to search for their relatives without having the minimum necessary equipment (masks and helmets) recommended for specialists in the field.

Support from humanitarian actors in emergency shelters continues. Although shelter conditions have improved, shelter management and administration still require support. Humanitarian organizations report between 38 and 44 shelters, both official and unofficial.

Actions are shifting from response to early recovery. Authorities are considering transferring some of the emergency shelters to spaces that have been identified for the construction of single-family transition shelters (ATUS). Discussion continues on the criteria for selecting people to move, details of the relocation plan for those in shelters run by the Social Work Secretariat of the President's Wife (SOSEP) and unofficial and self-hosted shelters (around 3,000 people). The lack of access to information and the absence of participation in these processes is generating uncertainty among the sheltered.

The World Food Program (WFP), in consultation with authorities, carried out a multi-sectoral evaluation of affected communities in Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez from 20-22 June. At the time of the evaluation, the communities were receiving humanitarian assistance from private individuals and municipal authorities, albeit incomplete assistance that lacked proper focus or defined timelines. There are communities that remain isolated or with very limited access due to damage to infrastructure caused by lahars.

Access to affected communities is limited to a few hours a day due to early afternoon rainfall that can cause lahars and flooding of local rivers. Should the seasonal rains persist, steady access to affected communities could be greatly jeopardized. Community members indicate that their main requirements are food and cash to cover basic needs for the next 9 to 12 months. Given the loss of income due to the lack of demand for labor, the cost of basic grains makes it impossible for some households to acquire them. Children under 2 years old are not receiving adequate food for their age.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA), with the support of technical teams of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), carried out the evaluation of loss perception in the agricultural sector caused by falling ash and sand in communities of the three affected departments. The main results found that 16,932 small-scale farmers were affected by falling ash and sand, with 13,611 hectares of crops affected, incurring an estimated cumulative economic loss of US$12,299,701. The crops that suffered damage in order of importance were: corn, vegetables and fruit trees. People who grow vegetables and fruits at a commercial level have reduced the hiring of labor by 75 per cent.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.