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Volcanic Eruptions

What they are, and how we help

What is a volcanic eruption?

Volcanic eruptions happen when a volcanic vent discharges lava and gas. 

Volcanoes can blast out ash, solid rocks, lava and gases that can kill people, disrupt air travel and destroy buildings:

  • Flowing lava, which can reach 1,250 degrees Celsius or more, can burn everything in its path
  • Boulders of hardening lava can rain down on villages
  • Mud flows from rapidly melting snow can strip mountains and valleys bare and bury towns
  • Ash and toxic gases can cause lung damage and disrupt air travel.

How Save the Children respond

In general, when responding to a volcano Save the Children will:
  • Distribute urgent items such as blankets, clothes, shelter supplies and hygiene and household kits, as often thousands of families lose everything they own – including their homes
  • Provide emergency shelter for suddenly-homeless families
  • Set up child- and adolescent-friendly spaces for displaced youth
  • Rehabilitate schools so children can continue their education
  • Provide clean water and reconstruct latrines.


Save the Children emergency response after Guatemala Volcano

A powerful eruption of Guatemala's Fuego volcano in June 2018 buried villages in ash and lava.The volcano reportedly blasted a river of red, hot lava and ejected thick clouds of smoke nearly six miles into the air. A second, unprecedented eruption a few days later sparked fresh panic among affected communities, endangering even more lives and halting rescue efforts.

Over 1.7 million people are estimated to have been affected and sadly over 100 people lost their lives. Towns were wiped off the map, buried in ash and lava. 

Our response team distributed household kits, that contains essential items like; blankets, tarpaulin, rope, a jerry can and soap. We also set up and managed Child Friendly Spaces to help protect children caught up in the emergency.