Several weeks of heavy rains prompted ADRA Guatemala to respond to the needs of residents in El Campanario, Capucal, Capucalito, Tayguani, Tres Pinos, and La Unión in the affected department of Zacapa, in eastern Guatemala, where approximately 1,200 low-income farming families live. ADRA is distributing food baskets, giving priority to those who have been displaced. Each food basket includes enough rice, beans, oil, sugar, salt, and cornmeal to feed a family of five. The distribution, which began Thursday, July 31, is expected to last for one week.
In response to the disaster, the Government of Guatemala declared a state of emergency in the central and eastern departments of Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, Guatemala, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Quiche, Zacapa, and Peten. More than 50 communities in the eastern region of Guatemala have been affected by the onslaught of floodwaters and landslides, which have devastated the region, burying homes, destroying bridges, roads, covering farmland, and cutting off electricity, phone lines, and food access for thousands. 'Every time it begins to dry up,' said Otoniel Trujillo, country director for the ADRA Guatemala office, 'another storm comes, and it starts all over again.'
As rains continue, residents are finding it difficult to find food, water, and shelter. Children are also suffering from diarrhea, lung infections, flu, fungus, and other illnesses.
Guatemala's annual rainy season typically lasts from May to October, but since June, residents living in the northern departments have been coping with an almost steady flow of rain due to Tropical Storm Arthur and the low pressure systems that followed it. In July, eastern Guatemala began experiencing heavy downpours, with rainfall in some areas reaching as much as 377 percent higher than the average.
By official estimates, the storms have resulted in $500,000 in agricultural losses, leaving approximately 1,335,000 residents in an increased state of food insecurity, which could last for the remainder of the year. As of July 25, some 20 people were reported killed due to flooding in Zacapa, and two in Guatemala City where nearly 4,000 displaced persons are living in shelters.
To send your contribution to ADRA's Emergency Response Fund, please contact ADRA at 1.800.424.ADRA (2372) or give online at www.adra.org
ADRA is present in 125 countries, providing community development and emergency management without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race, or ethnicity.
Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org.
Author: Nadia McGill
Director for Public Awareness
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