Photo by Gesler Castillo
On June 3, 2018, Volcán de Fuego (“Volcano of Fire”) erupted in Guatemala, killing more than 200 people and burying nearby communities in hot ash. According to CONRED, Guatemala’s national disaster response agency, nearly 13,000 people were evacuated following the eruption, and 2,288 were displaced to three official shelters. A total of 229 people were declared missing.
“PCI has accompanied us since June 4, a day after the volcanic eruption of Fuego, and they have remained close to us, helping us ensure that the majority of our families’ basic needs are met while living in the transitional shelters."
– Elder Vásquez, Los Lotes community leader
With funding from USAID, PCI worked in close coordination with public and private sector partners to help meet the immediate needs of displaced families and plan for long-term recovery and redevelopment. Activities included working in temporary collective centers, long-term camps and communities at risk of further disaster in the following ways:
- Water and Sanitation for Health – PCI worked with local government providers to improve the quality and quantity of clean water provision to the camps. These activities included providing technical assistance to municipal water systems and connecting private sector actors for donations of materials and labor.
- Women’s Empowerment – PCI supported women’s empowerment programming for 486 women in the camps and collective centers. Participants focused on developing leadership skills and discussing social issues while also working to rebuild community structures in the displacement sites.
- Youth Leadership – PCI worked with adolescents in the transitional shelters, organizing them and training them in leadership as well as team and trust building. Their solidarity and teamwork was an important part of the protection strategy in the shelters.
- Early Warning Early Response System – PCI is continuing to work with the government and other NGOs to establish an Early Warning Early Response system to monitor the risk of lahars, or giant mudflows of volcanic debris. This monitoring system will directly benefit 23,415 people in 27 communities.