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 has provided medical services to 407 survivors of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala 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 were living in 20 government-established shelters in Suchitepéquez, Escuintla, and Sacatepéquez. There were an additional 1,200 people living in unofficial shelters as people continued to remain displaced from their homes.
Project HOPE team members identified critical gaps in health services and coverage that existed prior to the disaster and addressed a wide range of health issues including burns injuries, inhalation and respiratory illnesses resulting from Fuego. Communities affected by the eruption face a long and difficult recovery process as thousands remain homeless, entire towns remain buried and the death toll continues to rise as more areas are uncovered from debris and ash.
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.
When Elmira Cab Quia read that Project HOPE would be visiting the Hospital Nacional at Puerto Barrios, she knew she had to go.