Disaster relief for victims of Agatha

It cannot have escaped your attention that Guatemala has been afflicted by natural disasters recently, reflecting its position in both a tectonically active and hurricane prone region. It is rare that Central America features in the news on Radio 4, but it was mentioned in relation to Tropical Storm Agatha, and has been mentioned in parliament. A donation of £100,000 has been made to the Guatemalan Red Cross.

As usual it is the poorest who are most affected: crops ruined by volcanic ash and sand, houses washed away from the marginal lands where they live, infrastructure damaged. Our colleagues in Guatemala sent us the following information on behalf of a few grassroots organisationsthey collaborate with. If you would like to support them please contact us via "Contact us" form and we’ll explain how this can be done.

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Last week’s combination of volcanic eruptions and tropical storm Agatha
has wreaked havoc on communities and infrastructure nationwide in
Guatemala, while at the same time each disaster severely limited the
capacity to respond quickly to the other.

Government estimates include over 150 deaths, 100 disappeared, over
135,000 people evacuated, over 20,000 homes damaged and at least 35
bridges completely destroyed.

Highland indigenous communities, urban communities built on
mountainsides, and subsistence farming communities throughout the
country are those hardest hit by the most recent disasters in
Guatemala.  Communities and individuals will face the long-term effects
on physical and psychological health, homes, crops, and infrastructure
in the very places that have long confronted structural inequalities
and lack of access to economic opportunities and basic services.  The
disasters have provided a window and urgency to the reality of daily
survival that existed before and will exist long after the disaster
itself.  In many cases, the communities themselves are the ones now
organizing and distributing relief and planning long-term.


What can you do?

Directly support communities and organizations affected by the disaster. If you are currently in Guatemala,
contact us for a list of places where you can drop off donations of
food, water, clothes, diapers and other material goods.  If you are outside of Guatemala,
you can donate to the following organizations working in or made up of
affected communities (this is not meant to be an exhaustive list; we
work closely with and/or have received requests from the following
groups).


Comité Campesino Del Altiplano (CCDA)

The CCDA is a community-based organization in Sololá, one of the
hardest hit areas.  The organization is providing emergency services in
communities and coordinating with 10 local shelters.  In addition to
financial donations, the CCDA needs food, water, material goods, phone
cards (TIGO), medical volunteers and equipment.  Visit the CCDA blog http://accionesccda.blogspot.com for more information, pictures and the organization’s list of needs.


Asociación Civil Grupo Pro-Justicia Nueva Linda

The storm destroyed the encampment that the group maintains as a permanent presence in front of the Nueva Linda plantation (finca)
to demand justice for the 2003 forced disappearance of leader Hector
Reyes and a 2004 violent eviction that led to the death of 9 group
members. The group estimates the losses as a result of tropical storm
Agatha at
$10,000.  Read more and see pictures from the group here
<http://www.nisgua.org/news_analysis/NuevaLindaAgatha.pdf>.

Fundación Guillermo Toriello

The Guillermo Toriello Foundation is coordinating relief efforts with
communities in the western departments of Sololá and Quiché, receiving
and distributing donations of food, water and emergency supplies.

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