Project HOPE announced the deployment of an emergency medical response team to Guatemala as fresh lava flows from the Fuego volcano, prolonging a disaster that has displaced thousands of people.
Fuego’s catastrophic eruption started on June 3rd, spreading lava and hot clouds of volcanic ash and toxic gases, killing 110 people and leaving 200 missing. It’s estimated that 1.7 million people have been affected by Fuego and thousands have crammed into shelters.
“We anticipate that health needs will rise quickly in Guatemala. Communities situated near the volcano are especially at risk and local health workers are under enormous strain to address the challenges caused by this disaster,” said Chris Skopec, Project HOPE Executive Vice President, responsible for Global Health and Disaster Response Programs.
Project HOPE’s team, including physicians, nurse practitioners, and logistics experts will assess critical health needs and provide care to people affected by the disaster. The first deployment will arrive on Tuesday, June 12th, and additional rotations of medical volunteers are expected to deploy in the weeks ahead.
Authorities in Guatemala have warned that Fuego, the most violent eruption in four decades, is still active and poses substantial health risks. Project HOPE will provide medicines and supplies to Guatemala based on the needs outlined by the government.
“Our team will collaborate with the Guatemalan government and local partners to ensure we deliver assistance where it is needed most. The Guatemalan government has requested international assistance including water filters, medicines, medical supplies, mobile hospitals, and medical support,” said Skopec.
Project HOPE has responded to every major disaster since the 2004 Indonesian tsunami with medical volunteer support, donations of medicines and supplies, and long-term efforts to rebuild damaged health systems. Most recently, HOPE provided care for people impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017 and HOPE is still in Puerto Rico supporting health needs. In Guatemala, HOPE provided humanitarian aid following Hurricane Stan in 2005 and has implemented maternal and child health programs in the country since then.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leader in global health development and emergency relief programs. An international nonprofit organization, we save lives and improve health, especially among women and children. We accomplish our mission by improving the knowledge, abilities and tools of the health workforce to deliver high quality health services to communities in need. With programs in over 30 countries, we work at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. Learn more at www.projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg
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