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: