Here’s How To Help After The Deadly Volcano Eruption In Guatemala

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about the eruption of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala, along with information about how you can help people in need.


Q: What happened?

A: The Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted on Sunday, June 3, 2018, killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds. The eruption spewed a deadly mix of ash, rock, and volcanic gases more than six miles into the air. Fresh lava flows—and the threat of another eruption—continued days after the initial eruption, hampering relief efforts and displacing more Guatemalans.

Q: How many people have been impacted?

A: The eruption killed more than 100 people in Guatemala and injured hundreds. Many people are still missing, and more than 3,000 Guatemalans have been evacuated from their homes. With its epicenter about 25 miles from Guatemala City, the eruption covered mountain-side villages in ash. The village of El Rodeo, just 8 miles from Fuego’s crater, is devastated. One woman who escaped said she saw lava flowing through corn fields and ran. She wasn’t certain what happened to other members of her family. In total, 1.7 million people have been affected by the volcano’s eruption in Guatemala, according to its disaster response agency, CONRED.

Q: Where is the Fuego volcano?

A: Fuego volcano is located in southwest Guatemala. It is one of the most active volcanoes in Guatemala. There are 37 volcanoes in the country; most are dormant. Fuego is located in the so-called Ring of Fire, a 25,000-mile horseshoe-shaped area where several tectonic plates rub against each other. Another volcano along the Ring of Fire, Indonesia’s Mount Merapi, has been erupting with increased intensity since mid-May. The active volcano displacing people in Hawaii with violent eruptions of lava, the Kilauea volcano, is not along the Ring of Fire. Scientists said the recent string of volcanic activity is not related and is normal for these volcanoes, which see continuous activity. A few previous studies suggest climate change and warming temperatures could be the trigger.

Q: How can I help people impacted by the volcano eruption in Guatemala?

A: You can make a donation now to GlobalGiving’s Guatemala Volcano Relief Fund. GlobalGiving will send your donation to vetted responding organizations in Guatemala. You can also share our social media posts (below) with your friends and family to raise awareness of what’s happening in Guatemala. GlobalGiving is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to accelerate community-led change. Founded in 2002 and based in D.C., London, India, and Shanghai, GlobalGiving helps nonprofits grow and become more effective and has more than 3,000 nonprofit partners in 150+ countries.

Q: Where will my donation go?

A: All donations to GlobalGiving’s Guatemala Volcano Fund will support immediate and long-term relief and recovery work after the volcanic eruption. Initially, the fund will help first responders meet Guatemalans’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Once initial relief work is complete, the fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations in the GlobalGiving community.

Q: Why does GlobalGiving have a locally led approach to disaster recovery?

A: Generally, we believe local organizations are best positioned to assess and to respond to needs in the long term, so we listen carefully to what local organizations deem to be most critical. Our view is that locally run organizations can nimbly and effectively provide for immediate and ongoing community needs. Getting funds to them benefits communities directly and quickly. Learn more about the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving and our community-led approach to disaster recovery.

Q: What’s GlobalGiving’s history in Guatemala?

A: GlobalGiving has longstanding relationships with many nonprofit partners in Guatemala. Our nonprofit partners in Guatemala specialize in varied fields, including education, environment, and health.

Q: What’s the benefit of GlobalGiving’s approach for donors?

A: For donors, GlobalGiving provides a way to help quickly and effectively without having to do a lot of research. Donors can support both immediate relief and long-term recovery with donations to the Guatemala Volcano Relief Fund.

Q: How long will it take for my money to get to survivors?

A: Generally, disaster relief and recovery funds are distributed to verified GlobalGiving partners within weeks of a disaster event. (This is rare for most organizations that aggregate funds as we do!) The timing may vary depending on the scale of a crisis and the amount of funds raised. We’ll make disbursements from the fund as soon as possible. As the work turns into a long-term recovery effort, we’ll disburse funds on a monthly basis.

Q: How do I know I can trust my donation to GlobalGiving?

A: GlobalGiving is a top-rated (4-star) charity on Charity Navigator. We are also accredited by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.

Q: Can I donate goods, such as bottled water or medical supplies through GlobalGiving to help people in Guatemala?

A: Thank you very much for your desire to give what you have in order to help survivors in Guatemala. GlobalGiving does not have the capacity to collect in-kind donations on behalf of our nonprofit partners. Along with the Center for International Disaster Information, we recommend that individuals give cash, and not in-kind donations after disasters. If you are with a company looking to donate in-kind supplies in bulk, visit

Q: Why does GlobalGiving recommend cash, not in-kind donations, after a disaster?

A: Through cash contributions, relief organizations can do more good for more people, with greater speed and sensitivity than with unrequested material donations. Cash donations provide medical and other life-saving services now, and rebuild infrastructure later. This interesting infographic and this article from “The New York Times” help explain why sending material goods, despite the good intentions, can be costly and sometimes harmful. Thank you so much for your generosity in response to this crisis.

Make a donation now to help people who have been impacted by the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala.


This article was published on June 4 and last updated on June 10, 2018.

Featured Photo: A rescue worker carries a child covered with ash after Fuego volcano erupted violently in El Rodeo, Guatemala. Photo by REUTERS/Fabricio Alonzo

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