When disaster strikes a poor country such as Guatemala, the most vulnerable populations are the hardest hit. Hurricanes and the heavy rains and mudslides they bring have caused food shortages in areas serviced by our partner organizations.
Photos: CEDEC, one of the GSP partner organizations and director Jose Yac Alejandro, shown here coordinating the distribution of supplies, put into action a food relief program after Tropical Storm Agatha caused widespread flooding and landslides in highlands communities in 2011. GSP funds were allocated to purchase food and cooking supplies for families who had lost their homes.
A woman carries away her bundle of valuable food and emergency supplies.
When a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck the Pacific coastal area of Guatemala in November 2012, the GSP responded quickly to help families whose homes had been badly damaged or destroyed.
One family’s story after the Earthquake of 2012
“I am Cruz Perez Marroquin. I live in the town of Agua Tibia, municipality of Comitancillo, department of San Marcos. I don’t know how to read or write because I didn’t go to school. I am married. I have a family with 2 young boys, 2 young girls, 5 older daughters and myself and my wife. In total we are 11 members of the family in one house. My house is made up of 2 rooms (bedroom and kitchen) adobe walls, tin/zinc roof, and earthen floor with services of electricity, drinking water and a latrine.
I engage in agricultural work and I have a business selling frozen treats. I work for 2 days a week selling the frozen treats and the other days I spend doing farm work. This life situation doesn’t give us sufficient income but just enough to sustain and cover necessary costs for the family. So also my wife is the housekeeper and she looks after the livestock that we raise for sale.
When the earthquake happened the whole family was in the yard of the house talking about the everyday things when we felt that everything was shaking. Everyone took to the road to look for a place to protect ourselves. We all stayed conscious and fortunately nobody was inside the house that was destroyed. Later we realized that we were very frightened to see our house destroyed. We felt faint, we cried a lot because when we met – my wife and I, our big dream was to have a house, but in a question of seconds, it was destroyed.
It is difficult to repair the damages left by the earthquake, but through the help that AMMID brought us, (GSP emergency fund) we feel supported. My family feels very thankful for the help we have received, thanks to the people who look out for families through the local organizations that request support from other organizations outside the municipality, like AMMID has done. Thank you for the help you have brought us, this encourages us to overcome the situation that we are living. Without this support maybe we would have suffered hunger or we would have sold our small animals, or tools, or we would be at the ‘finca’ suffering.
Words of Cruz Perez Marroquin, as told to an AMMID worker after the earthquake
The GSP sent emergency relief funds to several Guatemalan agencies after the 2012 earthquake. The funds were spent to provide temporary shelter materials for families whose homes were damaged and to buy food supplies.
Photos: Structural damage to many adobe block houses forced owners to move into a temporary structures built with GSP funded materials.