MADRE Articles

Report Back from Guatemala: The Aftermath of Hurricane Stan

Posted on: Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Keywords: Emergency Relief, Guatemala, Latin America and Caribbean

Communities throughout Guatemala were devastated this fall by Hurricane Stan and the horrendous mudslides that followed. Almost half a million people were directly affected by the storm. 35,000 homes were destroyed and an estimated 669 people were killed. In the aftermath of the storm, the support of MADRE members funded the emergency relief efforts of our sister organizations in Guatemala: the Barcenas Maquila Worker's Committee, and the Rigoberta Menchu Tum Organization. Thanks to your help, our partners were able to:

  • Collect and deliver more than seven separate shipments of food, potable water, clothing, and medicine, including 1,000 lbs of food and clothing for families in San Lucas Toliman and Santiago Atitlan, where an enormous mudslide devastated the town.
  • Send a medical team to Pampojila in San Lucas Toliman. The team—which was the first relief group to arrive in this remote community—conducted more than 120 medical consultations, administered emergency medicine and treatments, and established contact with local health authorities, ensuring that they could continue to deliver care after the team left.
  • Collect donations of traditional, culturally appropriate clothing from non-affected Indigenous communities and deliver them where they were most needed—an especially important task, because most clothing donations collected by outside organizations were inappropriate for people in rural communities, especially women.

MADRE's partners are now moving toward more long-term recovery plans. Their plan of action for the next six months combines continued relief efforts with a focus on community development to address the poverty and marginalization of Indigenous communities. One of their principle concerns is ensuring people have enough food to make it through the winter and that long-term food security in Indigenous communities is improved. Many families' crops, irrigation, and sanitation systems were wiped out by the storm. The UN World Food Programme Emergency Coordinator for Guatemala has said that hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans "face a severe hunger crisis as early as this Christmas..."

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