A resident cradles his dog after rescuing him near the Volcano of Fire in Escuintla, Guatemala

Guatemala: we’re racing to save thousands of animals after deadly Volcano of Fire erupts


Cattle, pigs, horses and chickens are just some of the animals struggling to survive after Volcán de Fuego erupted in Guatemala on June 3. We’re providing emergency food, medication and shelter

The eruption produced a river of red-hot lava and thick clouds of smoke nearly six miles into the air, leaving villages, one of them called El Rodeo, buried under the volcanic ash and mud. The volcano is just 27 miles from Guatemala City, the country’s capital.

As many as 200 people are missing and an estimated 75 have died. These numbers do not include the countless animals and livestock who will have also perished.

Many people have fled with their animals and taken them to shelters, so we’re assisting injured and unwell animals at these locations.


A firefighter carrying a dog after the Volcano of Fire erupted in Guatemala

Difficulty gaining access

Due to safety issues and risks of secondary eruptions, some badly-affected villages are currently off limits.

Our disaster response team is working with volunteers from local non-profit Equino Sano Foundation to gain access to the disaster zone, so we can help as many pets and farm animals as possible.

Our global director of disaster management said: "Seeing the impact of the volcano here is devastating. The government and humanitarian agencies are doing a fantastic job.

"Right now, our work is to help those animals in dire need; injured, without food or water and at high risk of disease. Our aim is to help those who are in shelters first, and once safe to do so race to those who have been left behind.

"Local communities who have survived this catastrophe will only suffer more, if they have no animals or livestock to help them long after the aid has gone, with their livelihoods, transport and food."

Coming together

The Guatemalan community is working hard to save its animals and people, and we’re there alongside them doing everything we can to help.

Once we’ve helped surviving animals and animal owners back on their feet, we’ll be assessing wider and longer-term needs with the government, to keep animals safe in the future.

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Right now, our work is to help those animals in dire need; injured, without food or water and at high risk of disease.

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