Floods in Guatemala
- 44 people have been reported dead, and some 50,364 people have been affected by recent torrential rains.
- The National Coordinator for Disaster Risk Reduction has declared a national level orange alert while the State of National Calamity continues.
- The UN System and the Humanitarian Network have finalized the flash appeal review process In order to continue to support most vulnerable populations.
- UN agencies are currently monitoring the situation on the ground in order to respond and to evaluate the needs of the affected population.
- Food distribution continues in shelters and affected areas around de country.
DEADLY landslides in Guatemala are the culmination of one of the worst rainy seasons in half a century, aid workers at Plan International report.
In June, 80,000 people were left homeless as Tropical Storm Agatha tore through the tiny Central American country. And at the weekend, at least 45 people were killed in landslides across the country following torrential rains. "Agatha began one of the most intense rainy seasons in the last 50 years in Guatemala," says Plan's country director Debora Cobar. "Heavy rains from the latest tropical depression have pelted the country for days, unleashing mudslides in several areas.Highways have been cut-off prompting officials to evacuate thousands of people - rescuers were trying to save people buried under a wall of mud".
Fresh downpours suspended a rescue bid with at least 15 people still missing after a mudslide wiped out a highway north-west of the capital, Guatemala City. More than 40,000 people have been affected and thousands more remain at risk from further flooding and landslides. The worst affected areas are on the Pacific Coast, in Retalhuleu, Suchitepequez and Escuintla, currently at 'red alert'.
More than 30 separate landslides hit the Inter-American Highway, one of Guatemala's main roads. More rain is forecast this week. "Water levels behind some dams in the region have risen so high that floodgates have been opened," says Ms Cobar. Aid workers for Plan International are on stand-by to provide help for those caught-up in the crisis. The charity is part of the Humanitarian Network of emergency response bodies and is in talks with local governments to provide water, food and child protection teams.
Plan is also distributing blankets, mattresses, and clothes for patients after the Santa Catalina La Tinta hospital was flooded. "We are still gathering information and conducting assessments on the extent of damage," says Ms Cobar.