Guatemala: UN appeals for more than $14 million for victims of tropical storm

Ambrosio Lopez and Lorena Gonzalez lost everything in the floods unleashed by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala

11 June 2010 – United Nations aid agencies and their partners in Guatemala today appealed for nearly $14.5 million to provide relief to survivors of Agatha, the first tropical storm of this year’s Pacific hurricane season, which brought with it the heaviest rains in the Central American country in nearly 60 years.

Tropical Storm Agatha killed at least 200 people and injured hundreds more, while many people are still reported missing and almost 100,000 others are living in shelters, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.

The situation in Guatemala was made worse when the Pacaya volcano erupted on 27 May, clogging sewers and causing the water drainage system to collapse. The Government declared a state of national calamity two days later and appealed for international assistance on 1 June.

OCHA said the appeal would be used to provide six months’ worth of food, health-care services and supplies, shelter, water and sanitation, agricultural assistance, early recovery initiatives and education.

The UN aid coordination arm is in the process of releasing some money from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which collects contributions from governments, private businesses, foundations and individuals to quickly assist victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts.

Before the storm, the UN had issued a food insecurity and acute malnutrition appeal of $34 million to help some 700,000 Guatemalans. That appeal has been only 14 per cent funded.

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UN prepares to assist Central Americans affected by tropical storm Agatha

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