Guatemalan Residents Return Home After Tropical Storm Agatha
June 3, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Guatemalan residents began returning home earlier this week after Tropical Storm Agatha ravaged much of Central America and left 183 people dead with thousands more homeless.
Guatemala was the hardest hit by Agatha, with a reported 156 people dead and another 103 people missing in the country alone. 18 foreign nations have offered to aid to Guatemala, including the United States which sent six support helicopters from a base in Honduras to aid with recovery efforts, Brazil which gave 20,000 tons of corn and 5,000 tons of rice, Cuba which offered a team of medics.
The European Union also gave 2.4 million dollars in emergency assistance and the World Bank said it was finalizing an 85-million-dollar loan to help Guatemala.
“We need water, diapers, food and cots, but what we need most is food; there is nothing,” said Elbia Coraro, the sanitation chief for Guatemala’s national disaster agency, according to the New York Times. “The kids need to eat.”
Guatemala was ill-prepared to met the needs of the storm, as President Álvaro Colom’s government has been struggling to handle a hunger crisis brought on by the country’s worst drought in decades. An estimated 125,000 people had to be evacuated in Guatemala alone.
Agatha also left an enormous sinkhole in a Guatemala City neighborhood. The hole is 66 feet across and nearly 100 feet deep.
Geologists are not sure exactly what caused the sinkhole, but an underground cave formation has been theorized due to the holes circular pattern.
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Image:Gobierno de Guatemala @ Flickr.