A week's worth of rain caused by hurricane Stan has caused massive flooding in Guatemala and throughout Central America. Death toll estimates are already at a conservative 1,400 in Guatemala alone, higher than that of hurricane Katrina just a few weeks ago. Last wednesday, Oscar of Guate 360 wrote:
The intense and constant rains beating down on the country for the past week, which have caused flooding and claimed the lives of at least 19, has brought president Berger to sign into effect a State of Public Calamity in the country which only requires 80 votes in the congress to be ratified.
One commenter recommended that readers fill their gas tanks as a government friend told him that gasoline stations would not be refilled after running out and that prices could soon skyrocket. Another commenter confirmed long lines at gas stations while a third stressed unity amongst Guatemalans:
It's extremely tought the situation we're experiencing together as Guatemalans … It is the hour to show our solidarity that we have as Guatemalans and that we can get through this. CONRED is doing an excellent job, but not enough. Think about it and help out.
Rob Mercatante, who splits his time between Guatemala and New York, has been collecting articles dealing with Stan's disastrous impact on the region. There is no doubt that Wednesday's mudslide in the Mayan village of Panabaj was the single deadliest consequence of the torrential rains. Hundreds of homes were swallowed in the mudslide and the town's mayor fears that 500 to 1,000 could be dead.
Today on Guate360 Alfa wrote an optimistic and uplifting post, entitled “We Must Help Each Other Out,” with a list of resources for Guatemalans – and others – to assist in the relief efforts.
Guatemala finds itself in crisis, but we will not let it throw out our dreams and annul our strength. We're a nation that has suffered and now we are beginning to rise up little by little. We won't permit that tragedies like the one currently being endured by many Guatemalans drown our hope of development. Our brothers, we need you: This is the hour to help and demonstrate and Guatemala has a big heart!
The post is followed by many comments offering solidarity, encouragement, and other ways to help out. One Guatemalan, Ale, currently residing outside of the country, left a comment encouraging other expatriates to donate through their local embassy. Alfa then responded that those outside of Guatemala can donate to the American Red Cross, specifying that their money be allocated to Guatemala or send remittances and/or money orders to the Guatemalan Red Cross.
Pueblo a Pueblo is collecting online donations via Paypal for relief efforts at Panabaj and surrounding areas of Santiago.
Mauricio Romero offers another way of helping out those affected:
I haven't seen if anyone else has started a prayer chain on the web for the victims [of hurricane Stan]. If there already is one, count me in, and if not, I propose that everyone helps out spiritually.
Jorge Cabrera writes that the Guatemalan Red Cross especially is in need of the following items: filtered water, sugar, basin grains, canned goods, coffee, soup, clothing, shoes, ponchos, candles, and basic medication – especially cold medicine. Julieta comments from Madrid that the Guatemalan embassy will open an emergency account on Monday for those who would like to donate money and/or goods from Spain.
¡Pura Vida! has a photo of volunteers searching for bodies in a Guatemalan river after a mudslide.
Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing has also been covering hurricane Stan's impact on Central America, though perhaps what is most surprising is how little coverage, overall, the tragedy has gotten both in the English-language blogosphere, but also from bloggers throughout Central America. Especially when compared to the media blitz that followed both Katrina and Rita. DesdeGuate's only mention of the flooding came in a post entitled “Earthquake in Pakistan!” and much of the Central American blogosphere continues to write casually about Shakira, Google Reader, tourism, and soccer.
Likewise, ALT1040 from Mexico City, posted briefly about Pakistan's earthquake, but gave no mention to Stan's impact on Mexico and Central America.
Mark Trew, a missionary living in El Salvador, recently wrote about the strong rains which caused several mud slides near his house and was especially damaging for those living near the Santa Ana volcano which erupted just a few days earlier. As if that were not enough, Mark then wrote on Friday:
The biggest earthquake that I have ever experienced was today. Not that big but it went on for over 10 seconds. I guessed that it was a 5 and Susana was told the same by someone else.
Tim's El Salvador Blog has done an excellent job tracking the devastation in El Salvador and offers a thorough list of organizations doing relief work in the area.
Warthog Pinacate says the rains are continuing in Costa Rica:
Rain, rain and more rain. All the the Central American countries are being hit pretty hard. For the most part its just an inconvience here in Costa Rica although several small villages have had serious damage.
Eduardo Arcos has since written a post about the flooding caused by hurricane Stan in Mexico's southern state of Chiapas with a list of all affected municipalities. Olganza has a list of storehouses established by the Mexican Red Cross to help victims in Chiapas and Vera Cruz.
If you find more information on hurricane Stan and the flooding it has caused throughout Central America, please let us know by leaving a comment.