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NPH Guatemala Children Safe After Volcano Erupts

On the morning of June 3, Volcán de Fuego, located around 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the NPH Guatemala home, erupted and caused volcanic explosions which left several towns covered in wet ash.

Wet Ash that fell at NPH Guatemala, Casa San AndrésDonate Latest UpdateReported by Sofia López
Communication Officer, NPH Guatemala

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

We thankfully report that the children, staff and volunteers in the NPH Guatemala home are safe, calm and well, and damages have not been reported to date. The local team also followed up with each of the families that are part of the NPH OneFamily program; fortunately, none of the families live in the areas affected by the eruption and all are confirmed to be okay.

A significant amount of wet ash blanketed the NPH home, and NPH staff has been working to clear it away.

The local authorities have found over 60 people dead, including a number of children and youths. The number of fatalities is thought likely to be higher, because at least one community in the department of Escuintla was completely buried by volcanic ash.

CONRED, the national disaster recovery body, has reported that so far 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption, 3, 271 have been evacuated, and a further 2,000 people have been moved to shelters. Part of the transport infrastructure has been destroyed or badly damaged.

This is the second time in 2018 that this volcano has erupted, according to the National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH). Authorities indicate that the ash columns reached 19,600 feet (6,000 meters) above sea level, marking the highest in the volcano’s history.

The rain of ash extended to the following departments: Sacatepéquez, Chimaltenango, Escuintla, Guatemala City, El Progreso, and Zacapa.

The entire country is on orange alert and the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango (the location of the NPH Guatemala home Casa San Andrés) are on red alert.

The Departmental Delegation of Education of Sacatepéquez suspended the classes for all the educational centers; the NPH Guatemala school is currently closed as well.

Wet Ash that fell at NPH Guatemala, Casa San AndrésNPH Guatemala:

  • Has become a collection center in Parramos, receiving a variety of goods for distribution to the affected communities.
  • Is distributing a range of supplies to cover essential needs of people affected by the disaster.
  • Is looking into the possibility of supporting a number of communities in
    Escuintla, which so far have remained without outside support.
  • Has provided masks to people in the community that were cleaning their streets and homes.
  • Is delivering food to people affected by the volcano via disaster recovery services based in Alotenango, and has been working to identify the more specific, urgent needs that the community has.
  • Will provide support to children living in shelters via the Youth Development Group, Religion Department and Volunteers.

The situation will become more difficult in some weeks when the flow of aid reduces and requirements are growing.

Please join us in praying for those in Guatemala affected by this natural disaster and make a donation or fundraise for our relief efforts.

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Photo at top: Wet Ash that fell at NPH Guatemala, Casa San Andrés; above: NPH Visit to Alotenango, a town devastated by the disaster

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 4:00 p.m. CST

A second eruption on June 5 led to more evacuations, although everyone at NPH Guatemala remains safe.

Orlando Ramos, National Director of NPH Guatemala, and Tio Eliseo, a volunteer firefighter, visit Alotenango, a town devastated by the disasterWednesday, June 6, 2018

Emergency crews at Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano continue the search for nearly 200 people reported missing while villages southeast of the volcano are once again threatened by volcanic gases.

Search and rescue operations were temporarily suspended Tuesday when rescuers, police officers and volunteers were forced to evacuate as explosions in the volcano were detected.

Here’s what the disaster in Guatemala looks like, according to Guatemala’s government disaster agency.

  • More than 1.7 million people affected by the volcano eruption
  • 46 people injured
  • 3,271 people have been evacuated
  • 2,625 people living in shelters
  • 75 people killed
  • 192 people missing

The entire country is on orange alert and the departments of Escuintla, Sacatepéquez and Chimaltenango (the location of the NPH Guatemala home Casa San Andrés) are on red alert. Despite these alerts, NPH Guatemala children and staff remain safe and in good care.

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Photo above: Orlando Ramos, National Director of NPH Guatemala, and Tio Eliseo, a volunteer firefighter, visit Alotenango, a town devastated by the disaster

A staff member cleans ash at NPHThursday, June 7, 2018

After the worst eruption of the Volcán de Fuego in the last 44 years, the rescue teams of Guatemala fight against time to find almost 200 missing people.

For the third consecutive day, the brigades set out to work in the community of San Miguel Los Lotes, in the southern department of Escuintla, which was buried under thousands of tons of material thrown by the volcano.

Volcán de Fuego continued with moderate explosions, and authorities warned about the descent of avalanches into the ravines. The presence of rain could further aggravate the disaster with possible floods and other landslides.

CONRED has enabled 13 shelters in the departments of Escuintla and Sacatepéquez, and evacuated other 5 different apartments as a prevention.

Here’s what the disaster in Guatemala keeps increasing the affected people, according to Guatemala’s government disaster agency

  • More than 1.7 million people affected by the Fuego volcano eruption
  • 7,393 people served
  • 12,407 people have been evacuated
  • 4,137 people living in shelters
  • 99 people killed
  • 197 people missing

(Statistics based on government report, June 7, 2018, 3:00 p.m. local time)

Thankfully, NPH Guatemala remains safe from these conditions and is not located in an area severely affected. The children and families of NPH OneFamily have not reported any issues related to their health or living situations, as they are in safe areas as well.

NPH Guatemala has restarted their academic classes primary and secondary, on the normal schedule. The Montessori school is planning to open again on June 11th.

The home is now 75% clean of the ash and they continue to clean to avoid health issues.

NPH Guatemala is working close with the firefighters, CONRED and other groups to bring help to the communities and shelters.

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Photo above: A staff member cleans ash at NPH

Additional updates will be posted here and on our Facebook page when available.


MexicoNPH USA supports the homes, healthcare and educational programs of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH, Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”) in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.

NPH Guatemala, named Casa San Andrés, is located in Parramos, 16 miles from Antigua and an hour northwest of Guatemala City, the capital. It fully supports over 230 children and features 25 acres of land; a school for grades K-9; vocational workshops; computer room; clinic; chapel; sports fields/courts; solar water heaters in 90% of home, and power in two houses; farm and greenhouse; and a fully independent water system, including a purification mechanism, a tower, a well, and a sewage treatment plant.

Please make a gift to support our work. Your generosity will greatly impact the NPH Guatemala family and allow us to continue caring for the children in our homes and communities.