Food For The Poor Responds to Volcano Disaster in Guatemala

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 5, 2018)  Food For The Poor's partners in Guatemala are rushing emergency aid to help families recovering from Sunday's deadly volcanic eruption.

Critical items being distributed include medical supplies, food and clothing.

The charity also has shipped an additional 75 tractor-trailer loads to Guatemala, part of its ongoing aid to the country that will replenish the supplies being distributed by the Order of Malta and Caritas Arquidiocesana, two of Food For The Poor's longtime trusted partners.

More aid is expected in the coming days with items including blankets, canned sausages, generators and portable stoves being airfreighted directly to Guatemala.

"We are working to get as much aid as quickly as possible to families recovering from this horrific volcanic eruption," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Robin Mahfood. "The need in Guatemala already is vast, due to the pervasive poverty there. It requires all of us working together. We are grateful for the deep and lasting relationships we have with our partners the Order of Malta and Caritas Arquidiocesana."

Today, the Order of Malta is responding with a mobile medical clinic to treat people in shelters and others with no access to medical care. Teams also are delivering food and blankets to shelters.

The Order of Malta works primarily in the healthcare field. Through Food For The Poor, it provides dispensaries, clinics and hospitals throughout the country with medical donations.

"It's a complicated situation. People need help," said Byron Paredes, disaster relief coordinator for the Order of Malta. "People are suffering with respiratory and gastro-intestinal problems. They don't have medicines."

Paredes said his teams are focusing their relief efforts in Escuintla, where a bridge connecting the area to the colonial town of Antigua, a popular tourist destination, was destroyed. He thanked the charity's donors for helping with gloves, masks and other supplies that teams are using as they go from community to community and assess the needs.

Caritas Arquidiocesana is distributing items including portable stoves, rice and beans through the parishes to shelters in Alotenango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala. It is also distributing nutritious MannaPack rice meals from Feed My Starving Children, another Food For The Poor partner.

Food For The Poor's generous donors also are offering to assist in the recovery effort. Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach in Springfield, Ill., is donating 100,000 masks to the charity to help victims with respiratory problems.

The Volcan de Fuego, Spanish for "Volcano of Fire," erupted Sunday and released a stream of lava, a cloud of huge rocks and ash that fell over nearby Guatemala City, the country's capital. At least 69 people have died, many caught off guard in remote mountain hamlets with little or no time to flee to safety.

More than 3,200 people have been evacuated because of the eruption, according to the country's disaster agency. The airport in Guatemala City also was temporarily closed because of the floating hot ash.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Michael Turnbell

Public Relations
954-427-2222 x 6054
michaelt@foodforthepoor.com