Guatemala: Mudslides - Information Bulletin n° 1

The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief

This Bulletin (no. 01/2005) is being issued for information only, and reflects the status of the situation and information available at this time. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

Mudslides brought on by heavy rains have killed at least 22 people and injured 40 in northern Guatemala. The region has been pounded by heavy rains for several days, which on Thursday 16 June caused large portions of the Calvario Hill to slide onto houses in eight communities in the municipality of San Antonio Senahú, in the department of Alta Verapaz. This region is located some 250 kilometres north of Guatemala City.

A damage and needs assessment has been carried out by the National Disaster Response System, which includes the Guatemalan Red Cross.

Communities affected
Persons affected
Persons evacuated to shelters
Houses damaged
Houses destroyed
Houses at risk

The National Coordination Committee for the Reduction of Disasters (CONRED) has declared a red alert in the municipality of San Antonio Senahú and has set up shelters in the area to provide, food, water and non-food relief items. According to CONRED, rescue efforts have been hampered by mudslides that have blocked the roads leading into the affected area; however, rescue teams have been able to access the area and armed forces are currently working to clear mud and debris.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Guatemalan Red Cross (GRC) dispatched National Intervention Team (NITs) members from the local branch in Cobán to support search and rescue efforts, provide first aid care, conduct damage and needs assessments and manage shelters. Additional NITs teams were also sent to the area to relieve those volunteers that had been working since early Thursday morning. The president of the GRC branch in Cobán has been participating in meetings with local authorities to coordinate relief activities. The Cobán branch of the GRC is also maintaining communication with the national disaster management coordinator of the GRC. The National Society headquarters, in coordination with the Cobán branch, sent 10 tents and 50 blankets to the region to assist those affected and is also planning to deploy members of the Psychosocial Intervention Team to the area.

The Federation's Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) is in contact with the Guatemalan Red Cross and is monitoring the situation to determine how best to support the National Society and the people affected by the mudslides.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Guatemala: Guatemalan Red Cross; email, phone (502) 2253-2027, fax (502) 2232-4649

In Guatemala: Rafael Olaya, Federation Representative, Guatemala; email, phone (502) 2220-0672 fax (502) 2238-0091

In Panama: Nelson Castaño, Head of Pan American Disaster Response Unit, Panama; email, phone (507) 316-1001, fax (507) 316-1082

In Geneva: Luis Luna, Federation Regional Officer, Americas Department, Geneva; email, phone (41 22) 730-4274, fax (41 22) 733-0395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at

MAP: Guatemala Floods