1.7 million people affected by biggest volcanic eruption in 44 years

In the last few days, Guatemala has been left reeling by the most violent volcanic eruption in 44 years.

The Fuego volcano has spewed lava, ash, rocks and deadly hot gas onto hillside villages, killing at least 109 people. More than 12,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, while the entire community of El Rodeo is said to be buried.

Rock and ash have rained down on the region, wreaking havoc and leaving behind a trail of panic and devastation.

We have aid in Panama and teams on standby to help families who’ve lost everything in the most devastating volcanic eruption in Guatemala since 1974.

As the search and rescue mission starts in earnest, we’re sending a team to meet with Rotary partners in the country to understand whether and how we can help.

Tonight families in Guatemala, and other families around the world who have been affected by disaster, will have nowhere to sleep. They will have no shelter and no safety. Some will have lost everything.


Police officers carry a victim of the eruption

The village of El Rodeo was right in the volcano’s path.

109 people are known to have died, and more are feared to be buried under ash and lava.

Guatemala City’s airport has been closed, and the President has declared three days of national mourning.

There are fears for residents of another village La Libertad, as the lava has made it inaccessible.


We have aid in Panama and a ShelterBox team has arrived in Guatemala to help families who’ve lost everything.

We are working with colleagues and Rotary partners in the country to understand whether and how we can help.

ShelterBox Operations Coordinator Anna Dixie says:

This disaster is still in the emergency phase, and accurate information on the number of people affected will follow once the situation has been fully assessed. At a later stage, we will know whether ShelterBox aid can be helpful. But with Guatemala’s main airport closed access will be one of the initial challenges.


Our response teams are not new to Guatemala.

ShelterBox has deployed to Guatemala on four occasions – to an earthquake in 2012, to flooding and a tropical storm in 2010, and to flooding in 2005.

Elsewhere in the region, we’ve responded to volcanic eruptions in Ecuador in 2006 and Chile in 2015.

We’re also currently helping the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, where a volcano has directly affected 11,000 people on Ambae Island.


Understanding Volcanoes

Everything you need to know about volcanoes and how they affect our world.

Volcano Facts

Help our teams go further


Donate now to help people who have lost their homes to disaster by providing emergency shelter and essential equipment.

A Ride For Shelter

Jesse Pine was inspired by Brittney Woodrum’s Fourteeners Project to cycle from California to Alaska in support of ShelterBox USA.

Stay Up to Date

Featuring the latest news from the field, stories of families who we’ve helped and exciting fundraising campaigns that you can be a part of, you won’t want to miss out.