A pop-up village to house those left homeless after a Guatemalan volcano erupted in June has been inaugurated after Israeli leaders agreed to help build it.
Named after Israel’s capital, the ‘Jerusalem evacuees’ village is aiming to build 300 housing units, needed after Volcán de Fuego erupted on 3 June, killing 165 and wiping out whole communities. About 260 people are still missing, presumed dead.
Israel and Guatemala are international allies, the Central American’s state’s President Jimmy Morales reportedly having received surveillance assistance from Israeli companies in his efforts to curtail critics and political opponents.
Guatemala was one of the first and only countries to agree to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, and in September, the mayor of Guatemalan city Puerto Barrios said all its streets would be renamed after Israeli cities and towns.
At the inauguration ceremony, Morales’s wife Patricia met Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara, Israeli Ambassador Mattanya Cohen, Cabinet Secretary Tzahi Braverman and ZAKA chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav.
The Rabbi of Guatemala Joseph Garmon, a ZAKA commander, is leading the initiative. He sought help to finance and build the new neighbourhood of 100 units to provide homes for the evacuees. Subsequently, the State of Israel also joined the project, financing an additional 200 housing units.