Guatemala

Guatemala: ACT Rapid Response Payment Request No. 29/2008

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Funds Sent To: Lutheran World Federation - Guatemala

Amount Sent: US$ 60,000

Date: 5 November 2008

Details of Response

Emergency: Floods caused by tropical depression

Date of Emergency: Ongoing since 19 October 2008

Implementing Member(s): Lutheran World Federation (LWF) ; Conferencia de Iglesias Evangélicas de Guatemala (CIEDEG)

DETAILS OF THE EMERGENCY: Since the beginning of October, Guatemala has been affected by the intense rains that have poured over the Central America region. Most affected departments are Chisec, Alta Verapaz and Petén. However, between 19 and 20 October, the situation deteriorated when the remnants of the tropical storm "Sixteen" hit other municipalities and departments not yet affected before.

The official report from the National Coordination Unit for Disaster Reduction (Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres - CONRED), indicates 4 deaths and more than 45,000 persons affected, 12,727 of which have been evacuated. 6,772 persons still live in temporary shelters. The most affected departments are Alta Verapaz, Petén and Izabal. Other affected departments are Quiché, Chimaltenango, Zacapa, Baja Verapaz and Quetzaltenango. According to the first assessments, a total of 5,123 houses have been badly damaged. Some bridges have been destroyed and roads have been affected. There is an important loss of crops, in particular maize, beans, rice and yucca.

Most affected population are the farmer families who suffer from the damage of their houses, loss of household utensils and loss of crops adding to their already prevailing economic strains.

ACTIONS TO DATE, AND EMERGENCY NEEDS: On 15 October, the government of Guatemala declared a state of national emergency in 20 municipalities of 4 departments. It allocated a budget of 500,000 Quetzal (70,000US$) for immediate response and 5 mio Quetzal (700,000US$) for longer term response to the floods.

The Guatemala Red Cross has assisted 38 communities in Sayaxché and 30 in La Libertad (both in the department of Petén), with food, clothes, blankets, drinkable water, hygiene kits and medicines. In Chisec (Department of Alta Verapaz), it supported 36 communities with food and clothes.

ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

The United Nation Children Funds (UNICEF) distributed water and water purifiers. Following its needs assessment, the World Food Program (WFP) distributed corn, beans and oil to 618 families in Petén, 132 in Alta Verapaz and 200 in Quiché, in coordination with the Ministry for Agriculture, SESAN, SOSEP and CONRED.

Shortly after the first inundations affected the country early October, the ACT members Norwegian Church Aid and the Lutheran World Federation, in coordination with the other ACT members in the country through the ACT Guatemala Forum, distributed food kits and water purifiers to 75 families in the communities of Sayasché (Petén), with their own funds. The Conferencia de Iglesias Evangélicas de Guatemala (CIEDEG), supported by the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), had started to distribute food kits to the affected families in Chisec.

Following the 19-20 October floods, LWF and CIEDEG both sent staff to assess the level of damage and needs in the affected areas. They were accompanied by personnel from the Departmental Coordinating Unit for Disaster Reduction (CODRED) and the Community Development Councils (COCODES). The results have been presented to the ACT Forum which contributed to prepare the present request.