Guatemala’s Jerusalem Neighborhood Rises from the Rubble

Photo courtesy ZAKA

Following the recent devastating volcanic eruption in Guatemala, ZAKA initiated an alliance of international organizations to help finance and build a new neighborhood of 100 units to provide homes for the evacuees. The ZAKA volunteers, together with their colleagues from the other international organizations, raised the necessary funds and then helped in the actual construction of the neighborhood, located some 90 minutes from Guatemala City and close to the area most affected by the disaster. To date, dozens of the one-storey homes have been completed and families have already begun to move in to the neighborhood.

As a practical expression and appreciation of the many years of true friendship between Guatemala and Israel and the recent move of the Guatemala Embassy to Jerusalem, it was decided to name the new neighborhood: The Jerusalem neighborhood.

The ZAKA Guatemala unit was established in February 2018, when 45 volunteers from the local Jewish community and representatives from the local emergency services underwent an intensive ZAKA training course in light search and rescue. It was only a few months later, in June, that the ZAKA Guatemala unit implemented their training, helping the local emergency forces locate, rescue and recover survivors and victims from the disaster.