Home Opinion Guatemalan Fuego Volcano and International Aid

Guatemalan Fuego Volcano and International Aid


By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Earlier this week, the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala erupted.  CNN is reporting that as of Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 69 individuals have perished in the volcanic eruption, while many more are missing.  CNN has also reported that "entire towns have been engulfed by thick, heavy ash...[and] the heat was so intense that the soles of firefighters' boots were tearing off and they were having to walk on wooden planks."  The Guatemalan President has declared a state of emergency and the reality of the situation is not going to get better any time soon.

American Agency Collaboration

The collaboration of agencies at the local, state and federal level of government in the United States come together to manage serious emergencies preventing them from spiraling out of control. Further, the collaboration of agencies and non-profit organizations allows for an efficient recovery process when combined with the Incident Command System.

International Countries

For other countries, however, emergency management plans, policies and procedures are different. The concept of the "state of emergency" can mean different things - whereas, in the United States, it is a policy that brings together agencies and resources at the federal level to help support the overall management of the disaster. For smaller countries with smaller resources, it can be difficult to pull together the appropriate resources needed.  It can also be difficult for them to manage the overall scale of an emergency - some emergencies are overwhelming just based on the notion that they're large-scale and complicated.

International Politics and Humanitarian Aid

While managing any emergency can be particularly expensive by the sheer manpower and resources needed, humanitarian effort to help manage international emergencies should be a priority for countries in the international political arena.  When countries struggle because of serious emergencies, it can be difficult for them to remain a viable and contributing member country in the international economic arena. More importantly, the hardships that a country has can easily trickle over the border to other countries creating difficulties for them in numerous ways.  International countries, therefore, should consider sending in resources to help with the management of an emergency as it proves to be in their favor. More importantly, when lives are at stake, just as we're seeing in Guatemala, it is difficult to manage and search and rescue missions become a matter of life and death.

Guatemala's Fuego volcanic eruption is a serious international concern and will continue to worsen before it gets better. It is in the best interests of countries throughout the world to send resources and aid to help them manage this serious and devastating emergency.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.