A team of Israeli aid workers from relief organization IsraAID arrived in Guatemala this week to distribute relief and assess needs in the wake of two devastating volcanic eruptions that have killed 62, injured hundreds, and left many missing.
Already on location at the scene are 45 Guatemalan first responders who were trained earlier this year by Israeli volunteer rescue and recovery organization ZAKA.
On Monday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry also announced that it was sending $10,000 to Guatemala through its embassy there, for emergency supplies including medicine, food and blankets.
El estado de #Israel junto con la comunidad judía y la embajada de Israel están colaborando y apoyando en ese momento difícil después de la erupción 🌋.
Los voluntarios de Zaka llegaron a los lugares y hicieron todo lo posible para apoyar! #Guatemala pic.twitter.com/ZcllA0wCfs
— Ariel Kahana אריאל כהנא (@arik3000) June 5, 2018
Volcan de Fuego erupted violently on Sunday, sending lava flows, and a molten stream of mud, ash and gas down the hillside onto the villages of El Rodeo and Los Lotes below. A second explosion followed yesterday, killing more, and hampering rescue efforts.
More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the surrounding area, two million people affected, and volcanic ash has reached as far as Guatemala City, some 25 miles away.
Del pueblo de #Israel con mucho amor y cariño al pueblo de #Guatemala – el apoyo Israelí ya esta en el camino hacia el Centro de Acopio en #Escuintla. #FuerzaGuate #VolcándeFuego#volcandelfuego#VolcanoDeFuego pic.twitter.com/BfDQtUlTeg
— Yoav Katz 🇮🇱 (@YoavKatzIL) June 5, 2018
IsraAID’s team will also conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to see what further help can be offered by the NGO.
“During emergency situations, needs on the ground change very rapidly. We are committed to remaining flexible and responsive to the specific needs of the affected population,” said Ethan Schwartz, communications specialist for IsraAID earlier this week.
“At the moment, our focus is on responding to the immediate disaster situation. As the situation unfolds, IsraAID will assess and decide on next steps,” he added.
— IsraAID (@IsraAID) June 7, 2018
כ- 50 מתנדבי זק״א בגואטמלה מסייעים בהתפרצות הר הגעש במדינה.
מספר צוותים רפואיים הומניטארים מטעם ארגון זק״א פועלים במקום בשעות האחרונות במתן סיוע וארגון החילוץ, בשיתוף הצוותים המקומיים. pic.twitter.com/11WzRPzC1h
— זק״א (@zakaHQ) June 4, 2018
Six specialist medics from Israel also arrived in Guatemala this week to support health authorities in the care of survivors.
— Gobierno Guatemala (@GuatemalaGob) June 7, 2018
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night spoke with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, and offered him condolences for the deaths caused by the country’s catastrophic volcanic eruption.
Netanyahu also offered Israeli medical and logistical aid to the Central American nation.The two leaders last met when the latter visited Jerusalem in May to open his country’s embassy there, two days after the US opened its embassy in the city.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke last night with Guatemalan president @jimmymoralesgt, following the fatal volcanic explosion in his country.
PM Netanyahu conveyed his condolences and of the citizens of Israel, and offered medical and logistical assistance from Israel.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) June 6, 2018
The 3,763 meter Volcan de Fuego is one of the most active volcanos in Central America, but the eruptions on Sunday and Monday were the worst since 1974, sending clouds of ash six miles into the air. On Sunday, the lava flows buried the village of El Rodeo, killing people inside their homes and destroying bridges and roads in the region.
Sources: Israel21c / Times of Israel / CUFI