One year after Stan, Guatemala needs more assistance

(New York: 10 October 2006): One year on from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Stan, the United Nations has provided assistance to more than 285,000 vulnerable people in 1,500 communities across the affected area since the beginning of the emergency.

Just over one year ago, Hurricane Stan made landfall over the Central American country of Guatemala, dumping heavy rains, which caused flooding and mudslides in 14 of the countries 22 departments. The storm -- the tenth hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season -- originally made landfall over southern Mexico on 4 October as a category 1 storm, before proceeding to dump heavy rains over several Central American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

In Guatemala -- hardest hit by the storm -- nearly half a million people were affected, 1,513 were killed and a further 386 injured by the storm, which wrought nearly $1 billion worth of damage across the country.

In addition to the emergency food assistance, which the World Food Programme continues to provide, approximately 21,000 people (some 3,570 families) have been housed in temporary shelters and/or assisted with shelter materials and other non-food assistance in five of the hardest-hit departments. These departments are the poorest parts of Guatemala, where the disaster compounded a situation of chronic underdevelopment.

WFP's monthly allotment for a family of five comprises 87 kilogrammes of food, including maize, corn soy blend, beans, and vegetable oil. However, WFP now says it needs $4 million to continue providing food assistance until February 2007 to help survivors get back on their feet.

Unfortunately, one year after Stan, the physical damage it inflicted is still visible, but its human consequences have become one of the many silent emergencies around the world.

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA press releases are available at or


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