A devastating landslide ran through El Cambray 2, a small community in Guatemala, killing hundreds and leaving as many homeless. The Associated Press reported that the death toll has risen to 253, with a current count of missing people at 374 and a total of 184 homes destroyed. In the wake of such horrific loss and destruction, the people of these communities struggle to find shelter, reconciliation and care.
Upon hearing this news, VAW’s staff on site was able to respond immediately. The team, assessing their local medical supplies inventory provided by the rotating volunteers, realized VAW and their partner NGO in Guatemala, Amí San Lucas, had the means to provide first response care to the people in the affected communities. Dr. Israel, one of VAW’s primary on-site physicians in Guatemala and the Director of Amí San Lucas in San Juan la Laguna, went directly to El Cambray with the medications from VAW’s medication funds and provided basic treatment to the surviving victims of the landslides within the first 48 hours after the devastating event.
This project could not have been accomplished if not for the money raised for the medications and supplies by the VAW Medical Outreach Chapters this past year. In total, we were able to use the extra medications and supplies from the chapters’ fundraising, over $800 worth of medications and supplies, during the trip out to the El Cambray region to help treat the victims of the landslide. We thank our chapters for their fabulous fundraising efforts, as we would not have been able to react as quickly as we did with enough medications and supplies to make a real impact on the survivors in the region. We also thank our dedicated in-country staff who were able to recognize the need and coordinate help quickly and efficiently.
Our hopes and thoughts go out to those who lost their lives and those who lost loved ones, as they will feel the devastation of this week’s landslides long after their communities are rebuilt. We do, however, feel fortunate that in an event such as this our staff members in Guatemala had the resources and the willingness to respond to the event and serve these communities while they were most in need. And lastly, we cannot thank all our volunteers and our donors enough for donating your time and energy to Volunteers Around the World, as your generosity and passion for change empowers our organization with the tools and personnel necessary to respond to events such as these and do our best to serve communities around the world when they need help most.
For more information, see the Associated Press article here.