Nearly 70 days after Tropical Storm Agatha struck Guatemala and the Pacaya volcano erupted, some 412,000 people remain affected by the aftermath of both events. Agatha, the first tropical storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season, made landfall on the Pacific coast of Guatemala on May 29, dumping more than 426 millimetres of rain in a short period of time and affecting 21 of the 22 departments of the country. Rainfall and damage across such a large part of the country was a phenomenon not seen since 1948. At the same time the effects of the Pacaya volcanic eruption on May 27 limited and delayed search and rescue operations as well the provision of humanitarian relief. The eruption closed the international airport, and large amounts of volcanic ash covered fields and clogged water drainage systems. This increased the flooding, rendering many roads impassable and impeding or blocking access to vulnerable populations across the country.
The Government of Guatemala declared a State of National Calamity on May 29, which has been repeatedly prolonged, in accordance to the unmet humanitarian needs of the affected population. Based on assessments and in line with the Government's priorities and plans, a Flash Appeal for $15,533,045 was launched on June 11 to address the needs of 390,000 people affected by emergency. Initial efforts focused on the provision of emergency aid (food and non-food items [NFIs], safe water and health assistance) to the affected population, especially to people who had to be evacuated to shelters following the disaster.
Despite shortages of funding, some projects in the Flash Appeal were successfully implemented and assistance was provided to the affected population. According to a Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) conducted in July 2010 by the Government and a range of international agencies, this emergency caused damages and losses estimated at $982 million, equivalent to 2.6% of gross national product (GNP). Approximately 70% of damages and losses were suffered by the public sector.
Based on current priorities and recent assessments, 412,757 people have been determined to still be in need of humanitarian assistance. Activities have been prioritized in the emergency clusters of Agriculture, Early Recovery, Education, Food, Health, Shelter/Protection, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). The revised Flash Appeal seeks revised requirements of $16,701,505 to continue to support the most vulnerable populations and the Government of Guatemala during the emergency response and the early recovery period, with a planning and budgeting horizon through December 2010.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.