Now, over 18 months since Tropical Storm Agatha, the legacy of its devastation can still be seen and felt throughout the rural communities of Guatemala.
Having affected 21 of the countries 22 departments, leaving tens of thousands homeless, and causing over a billion dollars in damages, Guatemala is continuing to recover and rebuild.
With the help of your support to local grass-roots organizations in this project- ISMU, AFEDES, and APROSADSE (which was established in response to the devastation left by a major earthquake in 1976) - immediate relief funds were efficiently distributed in the form of supplies, food, and health care kits. Outside funding was secured and the project is now funded.
While these were necessary needs to address in the wake of such a destructive storm, there were still great needs for long-term projects. Given that the vast majority of the population lives in rural areas, deriving their economic livelihood from agricultural production, it is extremely important that land and soil conservation, which had been limited prior to the storm, as well as alternative economic development activities, education, and health services, be given significant attention.
As of last year, the UN declared Guatemala one of the ten nations with the highest risk of naturally disasters due to climate change.
This makes it that much more imperative, that not only specific aid related projects be funded, but general capacity building be given ample support, to compensate for the loss of crops in 2010, and to better prepare for future disasters.
APROSADSE, ISMU, and AFEDES- all respected and trusted community-based organizations with long track records, are now turning their attention to establishing these types of projects like small-scale agriculture to be better prepared to sustainably rebuild and weather future storms.
While most international aid organizations do not support populations far from municipal centers, APROSADSE, ISMU and AFEDES feel that it is those more remote, vulnerable communities, that need the support the most.
So while we have turned the page on the disaster relief front, we would still ask for your continued support and solidarity with the Guatemalan people.
You can find other long-term projects by these organizations on GlobalGiving here:
IDEX’s three Guatemalan partners have joined forces to help rural communities rebuild after storm Agatha. Though the storm’s uninterrupted torrential rains brought devastation to many in 2010, it is evident it will take more time to heal and rebuild.
Food security remains fragile and some families are still waiting for housing construction and repair. Most families affected by the storm, realize that finding stable land for rebuilding has posed a serious problem.
Each year in Guatemala, hurricanes and heavy rains over saturate mountainous terrain causing landslides that in turn destroy the land. Thousands of Guatemalans living in mountainous regions are exposed to these violent storms leaving them vulnerable to poverty.
In the face of devastation, ISMU, a Guatemalan partner of IDEX and pioneers in the field of risk and disaster reduction has played a major role during storm Agatha helping to evacuate families from affected areas. ISMU has also provided assistance to organizations part of the Coordinadoras Locales para la Reduccion de Riesgo a Desastres (COLRED) that coordinate their effort with governmental authorities to reduce such risks and future disasters. Another partner of IDEX, APROSADSE, is working in collaboration with ISMU; together they are focusing their efforts towards repairing housing and infrastructure and have created community services such as schools and childcare centers. They have also provided bedding, kitchen supplies, bags of staple foods, and house kits (roofing sheets, awnings, studs, etc.) for many families who have been affected by the storm.
Because much of Guatemala experiences prevailing weather conditions, such hardships and obstacles require ingenuity, resilience, and humility.
Please, help demonstrate your support during this time by making a contribution! We thank you in advance for caring about the people of Guatemala and for your solidarity during this difficult moment of rebuilding hope for so many!
In October, 2010 IDEX Program Officer, Katharine Zavala traveled to Guatemala. She witnessed first-hand the effects of Tropical Storm Agatha. Below is an excerpt. You can read her full blog post here.Tecun Uman in Chinautla, Guatemala:"The storm destroyed 40 houses and even three months after the storm hit, the effects are still devastating. Just recently, three children were killed after their house collapsed. Because the road was blocked, it was too hard to reach them in time.In the area near the river, where the storm destroyed many homes, we saw how precarious the cliffs were. At the short time we where there, we saw a large piece of land crumble down into the river. The cliff we were standing on didn’t look like it would hold much longer. Many of the houses have been evacuated – still, people cross here all the time. In fact, this is the path that children use daily to get to school."Donations from donors have helped repair shelters, schools and homes, allowing people in towns like Tecun to continue on with their lives, altered by the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Agatha. In communities like Tecun, poverty and lack of resources can mean an inability to recover as a community from natural disasters. With IDEX partners working together we can mitigate the long-term effects of natural disasters and help rebuild communities in Guatemala.Your donations make a real impact. Thank you!
Your support is still needed to provide basic supplies to families affected by Tropical Storm Agatha and the eruption of the Pacaya volcano. The devastation left behind by these natural disasters is still evident months later. Some roads are still impassable, community members have been displaced from their homes, and many rural families lost their livelihoods when the rains washed away their crops.Although they face their own hardships and losses, IDEX partners have come together to help each other in these difficult times.
Many people are still waiting for supplies and help is still needed for these families to begin rebuilding their lives and communities.
By donating to emergency relief efforts you are ensuring that more families can benefit from this program.Thank you for your support.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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