Associations Spring Into Action, Offer Aid After Eruption in Guatemala

In the U.S. and abroad, industry groups and others are stepping up their aid and relief efforts in the wake of a massive, deadly eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala.

Last week’s major volcano eruption in Guatemala—which came with little warning, killing more than 100 people—is a situation where help is desperately needed.

Fortunately, associations both nearby and far away are ready to assist with the aftermath of Volcán de Fuego.

In the United States, local and state associations dedicated to Guatemalan Americans are helping to organize donations to ship to the country, particularly in Florida, where Guatemalan immigrants represent a significant portion of the state’s population—in South Florida alone, about 1 million people, according to the Miami Herald.

Julieta Trabanino, the secretary of the Guatemalan-American Association of Miami, noted that while the situation was tragic, it nonetheless highlighted Guatemalans’ willingness to support their own.

“It’s so satisfying to be Guatemalan at this time, because we have been seeing the solidarity of Guatemalans since the disaster, and even people from other countries called to ask how they can help with money,” she told the newspaper.

Guatemalan groups elsewhere in the state, including in the Orlando area, are also doing the hard work of gathering donations to ship to the country. And members of the Guatemalan Association of North Carolina have traveled to the country to assist with disaster-relief efforts.

Equine groups have also taken a lead role in assistance, with the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and the Texas Equine Veterinary Association Foundation each donating $5,000 to aid efforts.

“As the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation seeks to improve the welfare of horses and provide resources and leadership for the benefit of the industry, it is our utmost privilege and obligation to contribute during this time of tragedy,” AAEP Foundation Council Chairman Richard Mitchell said in a news release.

Outside of the U.S., a wide variety of groups are assisting with relief efforts, including the Pan American Health Organization, a public health organization that is a subsidiary of the World Health Organization. The organization is coordinating relief assistance in areas affected by the volcano, helping to improve access to clean water, healthcare, and mental health services.

“We stand ready to support the Ministry of Health in whatever they need,” WHO Representative Oscar Barreneche said in a news release.

Also helping in Guatemala is the industry group representing one of its largest exports: coffee.

Anacafé, the association representing the country’s coffee growers, is currently gathering up aid through its collection centers and through its charitable arm, Funcafé. The foundation is accepting donations on its website, the first batch of which it delivered last week [in Spanish].

The association also noted [in Spanish] that the volcano had a direct effect on the industry, with ash affecting as much as 20 percent of the crop in some parts of the country. It recommended irrigating the plants to limit damage.

Officials with Anacafé, Guatemala's main coffee association, deliver aid the the municipality of Alotenango. (Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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