Guatemala volcano: Cape church members recount devastation, return to SWFL

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Guatemala Volcano. WINK News/ Brooke Shaffer

Families in Antigua, Guatemala are left picking up the pieces as thick ash covers what were once homes, roads and businesses.

Guatemala’s “Volcan de Fuego,” or “volcano of fire, exploded just before noon on June 3, killing at least 110 people and leaving about 200 missing. Thousands of people who lost their homes are now living in shelters.

A group of missionaries from New Hope Baptist in Cape Coral were visiting Guatemala for a week when the volcano erupted.

“After the destruction from a hurricane, even if your roof is taken off … you at least still have property to come back to. Most of these families lost everything including the land underneath their feet,” church member Eric Dreszer said.

During their time in Guatemala, Cape Coral church members helped residents get access to clean water, and helped build houses.

“There are people there that don’t even have anywhere to rebuild their homes and there’s not the same support that we as Americans have,” church member Patience Cole said.

Everyone on the trip made it back safely to Southwest Florida. Dreszer even brought back a bag of ash as a vivid reminder of the devastation only hours away.

“It covered everything within the city,” Dreszer said. “It was definitely strange to put your arm out and then have the ash left on your arm.”

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