SANLUCAS TOTOLYA, Guatemala - At
nine o'clock on the evening of September 12th, Sanlucas Totolya, a village
two hundred kilometers west of Guatemala City, was ravaged by a mudslide
due to heavy rains. Thirty cases of property damage and twenty-seven deaths
were reported, most fatalities being children. Furthermore, eight people
were missing and fourteen people were severely injured. The next day, the
Guatemala Tzu Chi Volunteer Team quickly set out for a two-day relief and
A journey through the clouds
The volunteers drove carefully in a tight caravan of cars through the dense fog covering the mountainous road. Because the visibility was so low, this short sixty-kilometer drive ended up taking three hours. The volunteers chanted the Buddha's name throughout the journey; upon reaching the village they instinctively put their palms together in gratitude for their safe arrival.
Tzu Chi volunteer team witness devastation and distributes food and blankets
The volunteer team came rolling into the village with one hundred blankets, ten cases of mineral water, 240 cans of red bean drinks, and boxes of bread and cookies for the residents. The volunteers were sorrow stricken over witnessing bodies and the partial remains of the deceased placed at the village's activity center. Though the mudslide had destroyed the village, the children were still rummaging for anything salvageable. Meanwhile, rescue workers and volunteers continued in their search for the missing. After transferring the supplies to the municipal disaster relief teams, Tzu Chi volunteers took their leave and returned to the Guatemala City.
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