On June 3, 2018, Volcán de Fuego, located only a few miles outside of Antigua, Guatemala erupted. Volunteer fire departments rushed to the scene, their boots melting as they sought to search and rescue. Several times, they were forced to suspend their efforts as the volcano continued to rumble loudly, additional eruptions threatening. When it was over, the Vesuvius-like eruption killed an estimated 3,000 people, many whose remains shall never be recovered. It wiped out entire families and left more than 5,000 homeless.
In the face of this disaster, you responded immediately. Because of your commitment and your trust in us, Faith In Practice was able to respond to this disaster. We did so, and continue to do so, in targeted ways. Working with partners nearest the greatest devastation, we provided basic medicines, hand sanitizer, supplies, gloves, whatever we had in our warehouses that was immediately needed. And we organized with other local nonprofits to determine the best and most effective way to support the international disaster efforts, recognizing that we are committed to Guatemala for the long-haul, allowing experts in immediate disaster to take the lead.
Since the immediate aftermath, we have hired Dr. Dionicio, a physician whose responsibility is to organize and manage medical care in the official and non-official shelters. Dr. Dionicio has been working closely with relief efforts, coordinating the distribution of medical care, medicines, and supplies from the central supply areas to the temporary clinics in each of the shelters and is bringing to bear a tracking system to ensure that medicines and supplies are getting to those in need. He has also been coordinating local volunteer efforts. As the area transitions from a disaster to a relocation effort, nonprofits whose focus is on housing are constructing temporary homes and are working toward plans to relocate displaced residents. Dr. Dionicio is also working with them related to the provision of medical care in the temporary communities.
At the request of nonprofits in the area, Faith In Practice is not intending to bring a medical clinic team to the area until the spring of 2019. The nonprofits in the area believe that the need will be greatest then, when the disaster relief agencies leave the area, something that is already occurring. As we are committed to this area, and are committed to the most efficient approaches, listening to those we seek to serve identify their needs, we will defer bringing that medical clinic team to the area until the spring of 2019.
In addition to providing medicines and supplies, as well the funding to support Dr. Dionicio’s work, Faith In Practice replaced the uniforms and boots of the Antigua Volunteer Fire Department. The appreciation ceremony the Volunteer Firefighters held for Faith In Practice was quite emotional for all concerned.
Thank you for your efforts to respond so quickly to provide funding to support our immediate relief efforts and for all of the ways that you support this mission generally. Your support throughout the year allows us to respond to the "disaster" of each of our patients who suffer from debilitating, crippling illnesses that medicine or a surgery would resolve. These are the kinds of very real disasters that do not make the headlines, but remain devasting for those suffering under the burdens of poverty every day in Guatemala.
Rev. Linda L. McCarty
President and CEO
Faith In Practice
To read more about Faith In Practice's efforts since the eruption of Volcán de Fuego, click here.