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Guatemala: volcano eruption. Caritas Bulletin, relief efforts still impossible. 99 dead and “countless missing”

“99 people have been confirmed dead (so far, editor’s note) and countless are still missing”. Yesterday, Caritas Guatemala has made a first assessment of the situation in the country following the eruption of the Fuego volcano, in a Bulletin issued 72 hours after the volcano’s most intense explosion. The ongoing eruption continues to cause havoc, preventing relief efforts from reaching the population. There are fears that the scale of the disaster could be far greater than what is shown in the official data from the Government agency CONRED (99 victims, 58 wounded, 197 missing, 12,277 evacuated, 3,665 housed in hotels and shelters).
The alert remains in place for the departments of Escuintla, Chimaltenengo and Sacatepéquez. According to the Bulletin “the weather conditions and the volcanic material falling on the ground are such that the safety of rescuers cannot be guaranteed”. In addition to lava and ash, the volcano is releasing toxic gases.
Caritas is running three reception centres in Escuintla, but they are insufficient to accommodate all those who have lost everything. Currently the residents need “psychosocial support, places to do their laundry, showers and toilets, care for their school-age children, medicines, hygiene kits, and support for the nutrition of children and breastfeeding and pregnant women”.


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