Escuintla, Guatemala, Jun 5, 2018 / 15:59 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Three Catholic churches in Guatemala have opened their doors to shelter victims of Sunday’s sudden volcano eruption that devastated villages and left at least 70 people dead.
“What I’ve seen so far is complete destruction. Hundreds of people have lost everything,” said Luis Rolando Sanchez, Catholic Relief Services’ emergency coordinator for Latin America.
Both Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Escuintla have staff on the ground in Guatemala providing hot meals, food, water, and other basic necessities to the displaced, as rescuers continue to search for survivors in villages buried in ash.
“The Church sprang into action immediately by opening shelters and getting lifesaving relief to those who need it. But there is a lot of work to do with so many people impacted by this disaster,” Sanchez continued. Local authorities estimate that nearly 2 million people were affected by the Volcan de Fuego or fire volcano.
All three of the church shelters are located in Escuintla, Guatemala, near ground-zero for the volcano, whose eruption spewed ash clouds nearly 33,000 feet into the air. The Escuintla district, along with Chimaltenango and Sacatepéquez, are among the areas most affected by the blast, according to CRS.