Mar 7, 2019

Volcano Response Final Report

Since the devastating eruption on June 3 in Guatemala, WJI has been involved in response efforts, having raised $8,000 with your support. Although nine months have passed since the tragedy occurred, hundreds of families are still living in temporary shelters.

To support displaced families and relatives of victims, WJI supported the hiring of an independent lawyer who is part of a legal advisory team that is overseen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Since our last update, the lawyer held various meetings with representatives from some of the communities hardest hit by the disaster: San Miguel los Lotes, La Trinidad, and Don Pancho. The lawyer has provided legal services to vulnerable families from these communities who remain in shelters across Guatemala.

Many families from the community of La Trinidad are temporarily housed in a shelter with extremely poor conditions where there is no access to water or electricity. The lawyer has consulted with their female-led community development council to prepare a legal brief to support the needs of community members. This will be presented at the next meeting of the UNHCR working group.

Thanks to you, families and communities around the disaster zone are receiving legal services from a local lawyer. Although the road to recovery is long and challenges remain, we are thankful that efforts are continuing to support those in need. WJI is grateful for your generosity which provided vulnerable communities with critical legal work.

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Dec 10, 2018

Volcano Update

Since Guatemala's devastating eruption on June 3, WJI has been involved in response efforts after raising almost $8,000 with your support. The National Coordination for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala (CONRED) now reports that 256 people lost their lives on that terrible day six months ago. Hundreds of families are still living in shelters and are unable to return to their homes.

WJI has joined a coalition of local organizations working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide legal support to survivors and families of victims. This local alliance is responding to pressing legal needs that include processing presumed death certificates in order for relatives of victims to receive government benefits. There are also legal needs that have arisen around economic, labor, housing, and land issues, which vary in each of the affected communities.

Your funds are directly supporting a lawyer that is providing legal services to families and communities around the disaster zone. WJI supported the hiring of an independent lawyer who is now part of a legal advisory team that is overseen by UNHCR. Meetings are taking place between the legal team and community leaders to understand their needs and to provide much needed legal services to community members.

The road to recovery is long and difficult but we are thankful that efforts are continuing to support those in need. WJI is grateful for your generosity and we will continue to update you as this critical legal work unfolds.

Sep 10, 2018

Volcano Response Updates

Last week, on September 3rd, marked three months since the devastating eruption of the Fuego volcano that changed the lives of thousands of Guatemalans. Although official statistics report 169 dead, non-governmental groups and organizations working directly with the affected populations estimate over 300 dead and several hundred more still missing. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes and many will never be able to return.

Your generosity helped us to raise $7,842 for the Guatemala volcano response effort. Immediately after the tragedy, WJI’s Executive Director, Kate Flatley, participated in meetings with a non-governmental volcano response coordination group to understand the extent of the devastation and the critical needs of those hit directly. An immediate need for supplies was identified and WJI donated essential medicine and other items to local shelters.

WJI is coordinating with groups working with the affected populations in order to identify the greatest needs for long-term legal and psychological support. The government has shut down access to ground zero leaving most families unable to recover the bodies of their loved ones. Without physical remains, the law requires that a presumed death certificate is filed in order for relatives of victims to receive government benefits. There is immense legal need as 265 cases requiring a presumed death certificate have been identified by local groups and the government’s disaster response agency. WJI is supporting a team of local lawyers to address this large caseload. WJI is also providing financial support to a local organization, Asociación para el Liderazgo en Guatemala (ALG), that is offering psychological support to affected populations. ALG utilizes community-based restorative practices and conducts emotional strengthening workshops in order to support victims of the disaster.

The road to recovery is long and difficult but we are thankful that efforts are continuing to support those in need. WJI is grateful for your generosity and we will continue to update you as work unfolds with our local partners.

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