Workers at Americares distribution center in Stamford, Conn., prepare a shipment of medicine and supplies for Guatemala. Photo by Marc Birnbach/Americares.
Stamford, Conn. – June 11, 2018 – Americares is preparing an emergency shipment of medicine and relief supplies for families displaced by the volcanic eruption in Guatemala. Dozens have died, and 1.7 million people have been affected since the Fuego volcano 25 miles southwest of Guatemala City began erupting on June 3. More than 4,000 people forced from their homes are staying in emergency shelters to escape dangerous ash, gasses and mudslides.
Americares is supplying the Order of Malta, which is providing medical care in shelters, with antibiotics, wound care supplies, hygiene products and medicine to treat evacuees with acute and chronic conditions. Sixteen tons of medicine and supplies valued at $1.8 million will be shipped from Americares Connecticut headquarters this week. The Order of Malta medical mobile unit and partner organizations are currently using medicine and supplies from a previous Americares shipment to treat survivors.
Continued volcanic activity and inclement weather have hampered search and rescue efforts; about 200 people remain missing. On Friday, authorities prompted another wave of evacuations, halting searches for survivors.
“It is unclear when it will be safe for families to return home,” said Americares Vice President of Emergency Programs Kate Dischino. “We are supplying health workers in the shelters and emergency medical teams with medicine and supplies to provide essential primary care services and first aid. We are helping to meet survivors’ most immediate needs.”
Americares helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, increase access to medicine and medical supplies, improve and expand clinical services, prevent disease and promote good health. Since its founding nearly 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $15 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.
Americares has been providing assistance to Guatemala since 1986, supporting a network of hospitals, clinics and homes for children and the elderly through its longstanding partnership with the Order of Malta.