Guatemala: volcano eruption. Caritas, “fears that as many as 3,000 are buried under the ashes”

Rescue teams have not yet managed to reach the most densely populated areas, but there are fears a real massacre has taken place in Guatemala, where the Fuego volcano eruption has affected nearly two million people, and in the worst-case scenario, the death toll may rise to 3,000 victims (69 people are now confirmed dead). This is according to Mario Arevalo, Executive Secretary of Caritas Guatemala, who spoke in an interview with SIR news agency yesterday night (Italian time). “The Fuego volcano had not caused any serious damage for 44 years. But yesterday (the day before yesterday for the reader, editor’s note), it intensified its activity causing a massacre. It is impossible to assess the extent of damage at present. Indeed, many people are still missing, and we are unable to reach the most densely populated areas since the authorities have cordoned off three areas for security reasons. The provisional death toll is currently about 70, but some experts fear that as many as 3,000 people are buried under the ashes”. Furthermore, it is still impossible to know the number of people who have been left homeless. Mr Arevalo continued: “As Caritas Guatemala, in cooperation with Diocesan Caritas organisations, we are working to collect food and accommodate people in hotels and reception centres. The people affected are 1.700.000, but this figure may rise. Also, public infrastructure was severely damaged, especially roads and bridges, which makes communication very difficult”. “Unfortunately, since the Government lacks a structure to handle emergencies, those affected by the disaster may not be assisted properly. Therefore, as Caritas, we have to plan both an immediate response to the emergency, and one in the medium term. For this reason – Mr Arévalo concluded -, I also appeal to European Caritas and to all people of good will”.