Guatemala: State of Emergency Due to Tropical Storm Agatha

Right after the Pacaya Volcano increased its activity last week, Agatha tropical storm formed near Central American and it has hit Guatemala especially hard, leaving behind devastation in the highlands with missing people, at least 93 deaths, blocked roads, broken bridges and devastation in rural areas.

The storm dissipated on May 30 but due to the large amount of damages, School classes have been suspended until June 4th and the entire country is on alert. The network of digital journalists [es] are recommending people to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary to go out.

Photo by Guatemalan Government used under CC BY NC SA license.

Geraldine Mac reports about the tragedies caused by mudslides:

A state of emergency has been declared in Guatemala as the storms heavy rain thrashes through Central America. ‘Agatha's’ heavy rain has caused mud-slides which are destroying houses and businesses alike, cutting off roads and causing fear and panic throughout the region and there is a risk of a volcanic eruption. Just over 120 miles from Guatemala City in the town of Alomolonga, a mudslide buried a house with a family of 2 adults and 2 children there was no survivors. Four other adults and children have also been killed in separate incidents due to the amount of heavy rain causing more than just a few mud-slides and 11 people are missing. These mudslides have been causing traffic problems and power has been cut off from those places affected.

The blogger Chitiore wrote the list of addresses where one can take suggested donated items to help those affected by the storm. The damages are still uncertain, but the storm decreased and is now a tropical depression, which is something that the blog Good News in Guatemala calls “a miracle.” Now the danger moves to the most vulnerable regions in the country, where the terrain was affected badly. River levels have increased causing floods, and many roads are blocked by rocks that have been washed away by the water.

Houses near the volcano. Picture under a CC BY NC SA license by the Guatemalan Government.

According to the government's official twitter account @TuGuatemala [es], the official numbers for Sunday morning were, at the time, 13 dead, 30 missing people, 17,101 people in temporary housing and 2,912 severely damaged houses. Since then, the number of deaths has increased to approximately 100. The emergency demands coordination and solidarity from all Guatemalans and help from the international community. You can visualize a map(pdf) with all the incidents reported by May 30.

CC BY NC SA by Gobierno de Guatemala

Rudy Girón of the blog writes that Guatemala urgently needs a break from disasters:

Of course the tropical storm Agatha is the worst of all evils because it hit hard the entire country with a heavy downpour which caused floods and land slides in many places, including La Antigua Guatemala. Many people have lost their houses and many more have been evacuated and are now living in temporary shelters. A flood of tweets and Facebooks updates keep inundating the timelines with the hash tags #Pacaya, #AgathaGT,#CenizasGT, #ApagonGT, etc. You can look at all the photos from tropical storm Agatha that people are uploading at and Don’t you agree that we need a break from Nature’s catastrophes?

Many people in Guatemala agree and hope that the country will be prepared to help those in need.


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