Around noon on June 3, 2018, a terrible pounding sound came from Volcano Fuego—the most active of all Guatemalan volcanos; an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come. Moments later, a deadly flow of lava and ashes came down at a speed of more than 100 km per hour and a temperature of more than 500º C, wiping out everything in its way.
For most villagers at the bottom of the mountain, there was no escape.
This beautiful scenic landmark—one of the most photographed in Guatemala—transformed within seconds into a deadly weapon, killing hundreds of people instantly and demolishing homes of 4,000 people, who now live in emergency shelters. Three villages were wiped out forever.
While the people of Guatemala came together as one in the days after the tragedy, with many people donating food, clothes and other basic necessities, victims will need support for months to come. Villages disappeared and the volcano’s surrounding area cannot be populated again, so people will have to rebuild in new areas. Due to the government’s poor infrastructure and incapacity to respond to disasters like this one, victims must depend almost exclusively on international or NGO support and private help.
After the eruption, Play for Peace youth leaders from Escuintla, Guatemala, were among the first to distribute water and food to the victims. Several Guatemalan Play for Peace clubs offered to join forces to provide Play for Peace activities to victims, especially women and children. These sessions would take place in three of the shelter as a way to prevent the outbreak of violence, offer emotional support to women, youth, and children, and reduce stress for victims.
While long-term support for the shelters is a necessity, it is also very difficult to accomplish. Regardless, Play Peace youth volunteers are committed to providing continual support—for as long as it takes—to instill hope in the community and positively impact the lives of children and youth afflicted by the eruption.
Play for Peace Guatemala needs your support. Your donation will be used for materials, training, transportation, preparation and implementation of cooperative play sessions that will uplift and support victims affected by this devastating eruption.