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Project HOPE has aided Guatemala through disaster and humanitarian relief efforts, as well as programs to improve quality of life.

HOPE's Responds to Eruption of Fuego Volcano

Project HOPE is providing medical services to survivors of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala, as health needs are rising after the disaster displaced thousands of people. Fuego’s catastrophic eruption started on June 3rd, spreading lava and hot clouds of volcanic ash and toxic gases, killing 112 people and leaving 200 missing, including 60 school children from San Miguel de los Lotes. It is estimated that 3,557 people are living in 20 government-established shelters in Suchitepéquez, Escuintla, and Sacatepéquez. There are an additional 1,200 people living in unofficial shelters as people continue to remain displaced from their homes.

Project HOPE team members conducted needs assessments at local hospitals, shelters, and communities and have noted that the eruption has highlighted critical gaps in health services and coverage that existed prior to the disaster. Project HOPE medical volunteers are reporting a wide range of health issues including burns injuries, inhalation and respiratory illnesses, and are positioning to provide mobile medical services to affected communities and to distribute relief items, including medicines, supplies, and hygiene kits. The team will continue to coordinate with partners and stakeholders to identify longer-term recovery needs.

Authorities in Guatemala have warned that Fuego, the most violent eruption in four decades, is still active and poses substantial health risks as smoke, ash and new lava flows continue to affect the area. The government has declared the towns of San Miguel de los Lotes and El Rodeo in Escuintla to be "uninhabitable and high risk" and it has suspended search and rescue operations in the area.

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History

Project HOPE's extensive relationship with Guatemala began in 1976 when HOPE responded to a devastating earthquake. In 1998, HOPE began offering services to women in Guatemala through its Village Health Banks (VHB) program.

Combining microcredit and health education, the program helped vulnerable populations, particularly impoverished women and their children, by offering education and income generation as a means for improving quality of life. Through this program women were offered access to resources including financial capital, personal savings and health information.

In 2001, HOPE began a child survival program in the Boca Costa region of Guatemala. The program worked to improve the health of women and children residing in or migrating to coffee plantations. Focusing on areas such as immunizations, nutrition, breastfeeding, maternal newborn care and HIV/AIDS education, HOPE helped establish basic health units and also facilitated training of rural health promoters in maternal child health topics.

Project HOPE has also assisted the people of Guatemala with disaster and humanitarian relief efforts. In 2005, in response to Hurricane Stan, Project HOPE donated $3 million to help restore the health care system. In 2007, 2008, 2010 and again in 2011, Project HOPE medical volunteers from the around the United States participated in the U.S. Navy's Continuing Promise humanitarian mission, joining their military counterparts providing medical care and health education to the people of Guatemala.

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