Things That Matter

Family Members Are Still Desperately Searching For Loved Ones Missing Since The Guatemalan Volcano Eruption Last Year

On June 3, 2018, the Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupted three years after it showed signs of activity. The people that live in the neighboring village always understood that active volcano could erupt. Records of activity date back to the 1500s, and while there had been evacuations in the past, no one had ever died until last year.

A year since the eruption of Fuego in Guatemala, the total number of people dead is 201, yet 229 people remain missing.

Facebook/@rescateantigua

On the anniversary of the eruption, family and friends continue to mourn their loved ones, even though their remains have never been found.

“I do not even have anywhere to go to lay down a bouquet of flowers,” Norma Ascon told Al Jazeera. “It hurts.” Ascon lost two teenage children last year, and their bodies remain buried.

According to the Al Jazeera, Ascon “lost 33 relatives that day, but only the remains of 22 were found. Her two children, father, grandfather, a sister, and six other relatives are still missing.”

A group called Antigua Al Rescate has taken it upon themselves to help the community near the volcano by searching for missing people.

Facebook/@rescateantigua

“A year later, we are not the same people who left each morning at Ground Zero in search of the remains of missing community members, unaware of what the day was bringing,” they said on Facebook. “One year later, each of those who got involved in one way or another, has reconciled their experience with his life. No one (including firefighters, rescuers, volunteers and everyone who got involved without asking for anything in return) can be the same after having witnessed so much pain and despair. We have all found in the survivors the inspiration and the example to not let us overcome and resurface: together with them, we became resilient. The members of the community are not the same and, for good, they have managed to resist and lead their own cause in search of dignity and justice – something magical and hopeful.”

According to media reports, 2,000 people remain in shelters. The U.S. Congress also allocated $650,400 in the 2019 budget to go towards searching for the missing people.

READ: 11 Of The Deadliest Natural Disasters In Latin America

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