Guatemala: UN agency hands out food to victims of landslides and floods

Food aid arriving in the town of Moyuta Jutiapa, Guatemala, for victims of flooding caused by Tropical Storm Agatha

8 September 2010 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing rations to more than 100,000 Guatemalans who need emergency assistance after recent torrential rains in the Central American country brought deadly landslides and floods.

Corn, beans, vegetable oil and a corn-soya blend are among the items in the food rations being handed out, according to a press statement issued by the agency yesterday in the capital, Guatemala City.

The whole of the country has been affected by overflowing rivers and saturated soils since the heavy rain began, with many communities still struggling to recover from the impact of Tropical Storm Agatha or the eruption of the Pacaya volcano earlier this year.

WFP said its food relief programme – carried out in conjunction with Government counterparts – is operating in all 22 departments of Guatemala. But the latest efforts have been concentrated in the departments of Petén, Retalhuleu, Escuintla, Izabal and Santa Rosa.

Willem van Milink, WFP’s representative in Guatemala, warned that the danger from floods and landslides has not yet passed.

“We are just at the beginning of September,” he said. “There are still two months of rain remaining and rains have not stopped. The accumulation of all these previous problems, in addition to the continuous rains, will increase the gravity of impact of any event.”

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UN prepares to assist Central Americans affected by tropical storm Agatha

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