Guatemala (MNN) — Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego, or Volcano of Fire, had its most violent eruption on Sunday in over 40 years. Lava, thick smoke, and ash plunged into the surrounding regions, including Guatemala City.
Thousands of people were evacuated and, as of Tuesday, 69 people are confirmed dead. That death toll is expected to rise as emergency responders continue to reach some of the most devastated areas.
AMG International serves in Guatemala, and their ministry and communities were also affected by the disaster. Bill Passons with AMG International shares, “We have communities where we’re working where virtually everybody in the community has lost their total livelihood because all the crops that they have planted have been totally destroyed. It’s going to take about a year’s time for them to get close to back on their feet.”
The volcano was still emitting blasts as of Monday. The ongoing eruptions have slowed rescue efforts.
Currently, the biggest needs are shelter, food, and clothing for displaced families and individuals. Passons points out that many people had to flee immediately and leave everything behind.
“There [are] lots of agencies, big government-type agencies that are stepping in and we praise the Lord for that. But there [are] needs for food, there is need for medication. Specifically, we have a lot of burn victims.”
To help meet the needs, AMG International is responding with aid in the name of Jesus.
“One of the things we believe [is] if God has placed us in an area or country that is having a natural disaster, God has already given us a footprint into communities. So because of the compassion that Christ has put into our heart…we are motivated to respond,” shares Passons.
“Right now in Guatemala, we are using some of our centers that are further away to help to receive food and clothing and other things that can be donated so we can help transport those into the more affected areas.”
AMG International will also need to clean their facilities that are closer to the volcano. Once they do that, those facilities can be used as distribution points for aid as well.
Additionally, AMG International is networking with churches and other organizations for relief efforts. “We do have a long-term mindset — how can we help not just on day one or in week one, but how can we help going forward?”
One profoundly helpful thing you can do today is give to AMG International’s disaster relief fund as they respond to the volcanic devastation in Guatemala.
Also, Passons says, “We need to be praying — praying for those whose lives are devastated and praying that the God of peace would meet them and give them the peace that passes understanding. And pray for the believers there, those pastors that are there doing counseling and just meeting the deepest needs of the people in the community. Pray for them. Pray that they will continue to have strength and that they will continue just to be light in this time of great darkness.
“Pray for wisdom for us, for AMG, and for all the other organizations that are coming together…. That He would give us wisdom, that He would help us in that partnership of working together, and then ultimately that all the things we do would bring glory and honor to Him.”