VM Disaster Response Following Guatemala Volcano Eruption
- Guatemala is known for its vast rainforests, ancient Mayan sites and thirty volcanoes, of which three are active.
- Out of an estimated 1,500 active volcanoes worldwide nearly fifty erupt every year.
- VMs provided life-saving assistance in over fifteen disaster sites in 2017.
- VMs have assisted over six million people in the past year.
The volcano Volcán de Fuego, located just 25 miles west of the capital of Guatemala, erupted on June 3rd—causing massive damage and loss of life.
It is the deadliest volcanic eruption the country has seen since 1902, with explosions of ash and molten rock burying the surrounding villages. Over 100 people were killed, nearly 200 were reported missing and thousands were displaced from their homes.
A team of local Volunteer Ministers and the world-renowned Los Topos search and rescue crew were immediately dispatched to the disaster site, setting up the Volunteer Ministers tent just miles from the base of the volcano (pictured above.)
Thanks to an IAS grant, additional VMs and Los Topos have been flown in from Mexico and the U.S. to assist in the disaster relief. The grant also provides operational costs and supplies to support the VMs during their disaster relief efforts.
Since mobilizing, the team of VMs have helped thousands of people so far—delivering assists to those traumatized or injured by the volcano, locating and providing supplies and delivering seminars to train others on the assist tech.
Here are examples of some of the many lives changed by the Volunteer Ministers in Guatemala:
After attending one of the VM seminars, a woman had this to say: “I am very thankful for you and your seminar. I am usually a very nervous person. Everything makes me very nervous and upsets me. This seminar has helped me a lot and will also help me to help others.
“Yesterday my son was working in Alotenango and he called me and told me to leave—he said, ‘RUN MAMA RUN! LEAVE! The lava is coming down!’ I told him, ‘No son, everything is fine. Right now it is only a little bit of rain—it is not lava. There’s nothing to fear.’
“God in that moment gave me strength, so I was able to control my fear. And with the tools that you gave me today, it was even more helpful. This is very beneficial as I can share it now with my sons. So I’m really thankful to God and to you, the Volunteer Ministers.”
VMs delivered seminars to the local Mayor and 20 of his personal staff, after which the Mayor and an official contacted the VMs to acknowledge them:
“Good evening. We want to sincerely thank the International Association of Scientologists and the Volunteer Ministers for the enormous support given to this community.
“You have been with us in these most difficult moments and we want to thank you. For that reason, we would respectfully ask for these materials (the Scientology Handbook) for our Executive Council and the people who have assisted us. This is very useful material and thanks to the professional people who came here today and did such a great job, we now know we will be able to use it well to get through these hard times. So thank you very much and God bless you.”
They have since been given the VM materials to use in spreading the technology in their community.