Chattanoogans trying to help victims of Guatemala volcano eruption
At least 75 people have died and that number is expected to rise.
Three days after the devastating volcano eruption in Guatemala, crews are trying to decide if it's safe to continue the search for survivors.
Officials said the chances of finding anyone else alive in the devastation are getting slimmer by the day. At least 75 people have died and that's expected to rise.
Courtney McDonald was on her way to Guatemala City for her third mission trip to the area when she learned a volcano had devastated the area.
"People have lost their homes, entire families are still missing, they haven't even finished the death toll because it's so dangerous to get in there because it's still so hot,” Courtney McDonald from Chattanooga said.
She was based at a childcare center in Antigua the first time she made the trip. That's near where the volcano erupted.
"It's very worrisome for me though and it broke my heart because just to hear how many people have been hurt and affected by the whole thing,” McDonald said.
While driving through the mountains of Guatemala, it started to rain. Pictures show the ash on her group's van.
McDonald also showed us her sandals that still have some ash on them.
"All of our feet and the tips of my sandals were just covered. It was a good millimeter of ash. A lot of it has been kicked off, but you can still see it in the treads,” McDonald said.
The images from Central America prompted Kyle Philippi to return to Guatemala. He runs the non-profit, Far-Flung Tin Can, that’s in charge of an orphanage.
Several pastors he works with are also based in Guatemala.
"We've got a lot of similar stories to Guatemala and so, it's our heart. We've done a lot of projects there,” Philippi said.
He's also personally connected to the country. His wife is Guatemalan.
Philippi plans on making a trip soon to help with medical needs.
"Guatemalans are very much, they rise up to action when these kinds of things happen. It's great to see the local community helping as well,” Philippi said.