Mercy Corps team members are on the ground now responding in Guatemala after a powerful volcanic eruption killed dozens and left more injured or missing.Donate now
Our response to the Fuego Volcano
The global organization Mercy Corps is responding to the recent eruptions of the Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala. So far we have distributed 1,500 gallons of purified water from one of the organization’s water purification plants to people who fled their homes in the lava’s path.
“A volcanic eruption is pretty much like an avalanche, so people tend to run away as fast as they can,” says Marcelo Viscarra, Mercy Corps country director in Guatemala. “Mothers are losing their children, and families are being separated. I saw a number of kids in the shelters who didn’t know where their parents are.”
According to the latest official reports, the volcanic eruption killed at least 109 people and seriously injured 58. Almost 200 people are still missing. Some 13 shelters housing 4,137 people have been established for those fleeing the volcano, and they are well equipped with mattresses, blankets, water, food and warm clothing.
More than 3,100 have been evacuated already, and the eruption is affecting some 1.7 million people.
Mercy Corps is coordinating our response in Guatemala with local authorities, including the national office of disaster reduction, Coordinadora Nacional Para la Reducción de Desastres.
Guatemala has officially requested international support and is prioritizing the following items: equipment for shelters, cold food rations, cleaning and hygiene supplies, analgesics and antibiotics, water filters, mobile toilets, telecommunications, medical and surgical equipment, mobile hospitals and medical assistance.
Life in Guatemala
About 54 percent of the general population lives in poverty, compared to 80 percent of the rural population, where the majority of the indigenous population lives. Fertile land — the most important means of production in this agricultural economy — is concentrated in the hands of a few.
Land reform since the end of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war in 1996 has advanced in fits and starts. Chronic insecurity and high crime rates in the country, especially in urban areas in and around Guatemala City, further limit economic potential. Guatemala also struggles with government corruption, crippled infrastructure, and high rates of malnutrition.
- Conflict & Governance: Strengthening local violence prevention initiatives and linking to national initiatives for a holistic and integrated approach to decreasing violence and crime rates.
- Agriculture & Food: Providing nutrition education to mothers with young children, and helping small farmers diversify and trace crops, improve quality and increase revenues.
- Health: Providing health and hygiene education to build healthier communities.
Guatemala: Fresher food, better nutrition, happier families
In the northern highlands of Guatemala, the signs and symptoms of malnutrition are a common sight: stunted growth, underweight bodies and visible fatigue.
Guatemala: Rural micropharmacies offer medicine for all
Sustainable Community Health Stores is a new way of addressing the rural healthcare problem. It helps local families start small businesses while providing much-needed medicines in underserved communities.
Guatemala: “No quiere su tacita de café?”
Today, in the very early morning after I finished my daily run here in Guatemala for the final time, I took a journey to visit some of the sites where I'd built friendship bridges over my year of work here.
Guatemala: "Broadcasting" important health and nutrition news in rural Guatemala
Each time I showed up to small and faraway communities where the heat was unbearable, where there was no electricity to turn on a light bulb, where there was no wind to ease the heat in the air — and where the field workers were parking their motorcycles and placing their gear on the dried grass
Guatemala: Molding more than corn — molding nutrition
One of Guatemala's main staple foods is corn — in fact, Guatemalans sometimes even refer to themselves as “corn people.” One of the traditional ways to consume corn here is in the form of tortillas.
Guatemala: Mercy Corps Guatemala program featured in USAID Frontlines magazine
USAID's Frontlines magazine recently showcased Mercy Corps Guatemala’s Innovative Market Alliance for Rural Entrepreneurs (IMARE) program through the personal story of Delma Gomez, one of t
Guatemala: Farmers find new markets
Guatemala: Guess who's cooking tonight in Guatemala?
“Bienvenidos. "Loq ` le k`ulumnik. Welcome” to PROCOMIDA's final male recipe competition!
Guatemala: The different sparks of a cooking recipe
Part of the health and nutrition strengthening strategies used by Mercy Corps' PROCOMIDA program with Guatemalan communities consists of recipe demonstrations to beneficiary mothers.
Guatemala: PROCOMIDA meeting in an Alta Verapaz village
Women and their children attend a workshop put on by Mercy Corps' PROCOMIDA program, which helps improve the nutritional status and health of women and children in some of Guatemala's poorest areas.