As Guatemala Red Cross volunteers and staff continue to support the survivors of the catastrophic Fuego eruption, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released more than 250,000 Swiss francs from its global emergency fund to support frontline emergency efforts.

The first eruption of the Fuego volcano on Sunday (3 June) killed at least 75 people, with more than 200 believed to be missing. Search and rescue efforts were suspended last night after fresh eruptions, but are expected to continue today.

Pascale Meige, IFRC’s Director of Disaster and Crisis Prevention, Response and Recovery, said: “Guatemala Red Cross emergency teams have been active since Sunday helping people affected and displaced by the eruption.

“People are terrified: many have lost family members, their homes may be gone, they are injured and hurting, and they don’t know if or when they can go back to their communities.

“This emergency allocation will bolster the Red Cross efforts that are already underway in terms of medical, health and psychosocial support, shelter, the distribution of food and relief items, and family tracing services.”

The funds from IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) will help Guatemala Red Cross support 3,000 of the most vulnerable survivors for three months.

The Fuego volcano, which lies 40km south-west of the capital Guatemala City, began its ongoing eruption on Sunday 3 June, sending deadly pyroclastic flows and ash across a 15-kilometre radius. As many as 1.7 million people may be affected by the fall of volcanic ashes.

Emergency response teams from the Guatemala Red Cross have been at the scene since the onset of the disaster, giving medical support to survivors, taking wounded people to hospitals in the capital, and looking after the families who were evacuated from the danger zone. The Guatemala Red Cross has activated its blood service and has also set up collection centres in the capital city.