Landslide hit Panabaj again
On May 23, 2006, the national coordination unit for reduction of disasters in Guatemala, CONRED, declared an orange alert following heavy rains which provoked landslides, affecting communities already hit by the tropical storm Stan in 2005. On May 30 and 31, the ACT Guatemala Forum organized a workshop involving about 50 persons from the partner organizations to revise the emergency scenarios and contingency plans, based on the information received from their regional liaison and partners from LACE52 working in the high risk areas.
On June 2, a flow of mud and stones hit Panabaj and Tzanchaj again. Tzanchaj is the area where the population from Panabaj was relocated after a landslide buried Panabaj last year, leaving more than 600 people dead. CONRED has declared a red alert for these communities, warning about possible bigger landslides. Although the extent of the damages caused by the new landslide are not known at the moment, a total of 850 persons from Panabaj have been sheltered in schools, health centers and private houses in the urban areas of Santiago Atitlan .
ACT Guatemala forum partners working in the area, ADECCAP (Panabaj Community Development Organization), ECAP (Community Studies and Psychosocial Action Team) and FGT (Guillermo Toriello Foundation), participated in the evacuation and relocation of the population. ADECCAP is supporting the community's request to the local or national government to relocate them in the area of Chequimuc, which is considered a safe area.
CONRED and the municipality distributed food and mattresses and Save the Children provided hygiene items. A delegation from the ACT Guatemala Forum arrived in Panabaj early Monday morning with relief items requested by ADECCAP, including blankets, boots, ropes, torches and a more hygiene kits. They are using some remaining relief items from ACT LACE52 appeal. They report that they are monitoring the area, preparing an evacuation plan if landslides make it necessary, assessing available resources to support the community and establishing coordination mechanisms with the local authorities and organizations.
On October 31, 2005, ACT appeal LACE52 was issued to respond to the flooding and mudslides caused by the Tropical Storm Stan in Guatemala. The areas hit by the storm are populated mostly by indigenous people living in extreme poverty. The completion date of the appeal is December 31, 2006 and so far, 70% of the appeal target has been covered.
The members of the ACT Guatemala Forum are Christian Aid (CAID), Danchurchaid (DCA), Guatemalan Evangelical Churches Conference (CIEDEG), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Swiss Protestant Churches Aid (HEKS).
ACT members in Central America are very concerned about the hurricane season that is starting in the region as the forecast is similar to last year. The ACT fora in the different countries are working on contingency plans to be prepared to support the communities that are highly vulnerable after so many successive disasters.
For further information please contact:
ACT Director, John Nduna (phone ++41
22 791 6033 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 203 6055)
ACT Program Officer, Elsa Moreno (phone ++ 41 22 791 6420 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 608 8133)
ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org