Israel is sending emergency aid money to Guatemala after a devastating volcanic eruption that killed at least 25, injured hundreds, and left cities in the region covered in ash.
In a statement today, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that it was sending $10,000 to Guatemala through its embassy there, for emergency supplies including medicine, food and blankets.
Israeli trained first responders in Guatemala are also on their way to help after the Volcan de Fuego erupted on Sunday, spewing molten rock, ash and black smoke into the sky, in what is thought to be the worst eruption since 1974, according to local experts.
The volunteers were trained earlier this year by Israel’s ZAKA International Rescue Unit. The three-day search and rescue course in Guatemala was designed to give local volunteers the necessary skills to offer immediate assistance to emergency forces in the event of a mass casualty incident in their communities or regions.
Sponsored by the United Nations’ International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), the course was led by ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav and ZAKA International Rescue Unit Chief Officer Mati Goldstein.
Lava flows from the Volcan de Fuego, which is about 40 kilometers from the capital Guatemala City, hit the village of El Rodeo, burying people inside their homes, and also destroyed bridges and roads in the region, hampering rescue efforts.
Some 1.7 million people are thought to have been affected by the eruption, Guatemalan officials say, and there are fears that the death toll will rise.
It is not yet clear if Israel will send further aid to the country, which in May became the second country after the United States to open its embassy in Jerusalem.
“We will later carry out an evaluation with the Guatemalan authorities,” the ministry said in a statement.
“We follow with worry the eruption of the Fuego volcano in #Guatemala,” tweeted Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, yesterday evening. “Our hearts go to the victims and their families. From Israel we extend solidarity and friendship.”
[Photo: Israel21c ]