Yesterday, Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala erupted, killing at least 25 people and injuring 20 others, according to CNN. Sitting just outside Antigua, the latest eruption by Volcán de Fuego has led to more than 3,100 people being evacuated and is expected to affect 1.7 million people in total—including many thousands of coffee growers.
While the eruption of one of Central America’s most active volcanoes has concluded, Guatemala’s National Institute of Seismology, Vulcanology, Meteorology, and Hydrology states that it created some 14.763 feet of ash that has spread throughout a 12-mile radius, with the potential for winds to expand that distance even further, per CNN. Already ash has traveled 25 miles northeast to Guatemala City, causing the closure of the country’s primary airport, La Aurora International Airport.
In a joint statement released (and translated to English here) by Anacafé—the National Coffee Association—and Funcafé—the Foundation of Coffee for Rural Development—the eruption affected coffee growing areas in the “departments of Escuintla, Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, El Progreso and part of the east of the country, specifically the coffee area towards the south-west.” The statement goes on to say that in the villages of “El Rodeo, Escuintla and Alotenango, it is estimated that the sand and ash affected between 15 and 20% of the coffee area.”
Anacafé and Funcafé have opened up their headquarters and regional offices throughout Guatemala to be used as collection centers. They are requesting for donations of non-perishable and canned food items, potable water, blankets, clothes, and medical supplies, including medications for burns and gauze. All donated items will be distributed in coordination with CONRED, Guatemala’s National Coordination for Disaster Reduction.
The total damage done by the eruption of Volcán de Fuego remains to be determined. Anacafé and Funcafé are helping lead relief efforts locally, but more aid will certainly be needed from outside Guatemala. We will update the story with ways for the international community to assist in the relief efforts as they are created.
UPDATE: PBS has compiled a list of places to donate to relief efforts. It can be found here.
Photo by Rainer Albiez/Adobe Stock