The eruption of the “Volcan de Fuego” in Guatemala on Sunday has claimed 65 lives, displaced 3,500 people and affected at least 1.7 million people, according to local reports.
Oxfam and its partners are assessing the situation on the ground in close coordination with the Guatemalan Government, through its National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, known as CONRED.
Typically, in this type of emergency, access to drinking water is a pressing need and so Oxfam has focused its first actions on providing safe water to affected people.
Oxfam, with the support of its partner organisations, begun distributing water filters and hygiene kits to the affected areas overnight (Australian time).
It is expected that the death toll will rise in the coming hours, given there are several communities near the volcano that authorities have not yet been able to contact.
The priority is to save lives in or near the disaster area, however persistent rains and falling ash are making the search and rescue effort more difficult.
Any Oxfam humanitarian response will guarantee the rights of those most vulnerable, which in any disaster situation tend to be women and children.
For interviews with Oxfam’s Country Director in Guatemala or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations support Oxfam’s response in Guatemala and other emergencies can be made at www.oxfam.org.au/icf