Bolivia is sending nearly 50 tons of humanitarian aid to Guatemala after the country suffered a disastrous volcanic eruption earlier this month, Defense Minister Javier Zavaleta and Vice Minister of Civil Defense Alex Segovia confirmed Friday.
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"We have knowledge of the eruption of the volcano, receiving the call for humanitarian assistance that the government of Guatemala has made," Zavaleta said. "President Evo Morales has asked us through the Ministry of Defense to cooperate with 46 tons of humanitarian assistance."
Planes carrying 15 tons of rice, sugar and flour; 350 tents; 2,450 blankets; 900 first aid kits; cleaning supplies; 700 dry goods, and 350 pieces of kitchenware took off from Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz on Friday, the minister said.
"We are here, full of Latin American love and support for our Guatemalan brothers, sharing what we have in the Bolivian civil defense warehouses," said Zavaleta.
Bolivia is willing to provide further relief and has already set up a meeting with Guatemala to explore other methods of disaster relief, he said.
Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Jairo Estrada and General Directorate of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC) Francis Argueta thanked Bolivia for its support after Volcan de Fuego (‘Fire Volcano’) erupted earlier this month, killing at least 200 people, and leaving dozens missing and thousands more destitute.
Guatemala is now struggling to host at least 3,617 people in pop-up shelters across the country, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred). Nearly 200 homes were destroyed in the department of Escuintla, while 750 other houses have been deemed at risk.
Volcan de Fuego remains at moderate volcanic activity and has been monitored by the Guatemalan National Institute of Seismology and Volcanics since the initial eruption on June 3.
Mountains of ash still stand as much as 4,700 meters above sea level. Clean-up initiatives to remove debris, waste and to conduct rescue missions have been stalled due to heavy rainfall.