Food for Christmas to Guatemala hurricane victims

Published on 21 December 2005

With only a few days left before Christmas, WFP is continuing non-stop food distributions to more than 300,000 people affected by Hurricane Stan in Guatemala.

With only a few days left before Christmas, WFP is continuing non-stop food distributions to more than 300,000 people affected by Hurricane Stan in Guatemala.

More than two months have passed since Hurricane Stan struck Guatemala, prompting the threat of a major food security crisis among the communities in the western highland and southern Pacific regions of the country, many of whom lost their crops and homes.

“WFP wants to make sure that every single child, woman and man affected by Stan is not left without food during the coming holidays,” said WFP Guatemala Emergency Coordinator Helmut Rauch.

Heartbreaking

“We’ve heard and seen enough distress in the field, and we’ve heard too many heartbreaking stories; it’s now time for people to concentrate on rebuilding their lives. WFP food will enable them to do just that.”

We continue to urge the international community not to forget about people in Guatemala

WFP Emergency Coordinator Helmut Rauch

Working closely with strategic partners in the field, WFP will deliver 5,000 metric tons of food aid throughout December and January to more than 60,000 families in Sololá, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Chimaltenango, Jutiapa, Santa Rosa and Escuintla.

At the same time, WFP and other UN and international agencies are conducting a follow-up assessment of food security among the affected population.

“This assessment will identify if there are more people in need of food. With time, other elements may begin to hamper vulnerable people’s living conditions, making an already fragile nutritional situation even worse.”

Mudslides

Jaime Velasquez Bautista, 40, lost his wife on 5 October, when trying to save his two oldest daughters from the mudslides.

He was left with no house or crops and all his savings were inside his demolished home.

He has five children to feed and a broken arm that hinders him from finding work.

Mission

“WFP’s mission is to identify and provide food to families like Jaime’s,” Rauch stressed. “This is why we continue to urge the international community not to forget about people in Guatemala.”

WFP is grateful to have received US$3.5 million from the United States, US$1.3 million from Spain, US$615,000 from Norway, US$230,000 from Switzerland, US$200,000 from Japan, and US$100,000 from private donors.

Shortfall

Against the WFP appeal of US$14.1 million, these contributions cover 42 percent of the required funds, leaving a shortfall of 58 percent or US$8.1 million.

On 5 October, Hurricane Stan devastated parts of Guatemala, directly affecting 1.5 million people and leaving behind increased vulnerability and food insecurity.

Since the emergency started, WFP has provided nearly 2,000 tons of food to the worst affected communities. The US military also helped with logistical assistance and airlift support of 68 tons of high energy biscuits.