A sinkhole caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City.
Guatemala, Latin America: Week in Review

Guatemalan Residents Return Home After Tropical Storm Agatha

June 3, 2010 By Staff

A sinkhole caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City.

A sinkhole caused by Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala City.

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.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

  • A case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights may challenge Brazil’s amnesty law, which shields people from punishment for political crimes committed during the military dictatorship.
  • Silvio Rodíguez visits the United States for the first time in 30 years. The Latin America News Dispatch reports on the press conference he gave in New York City on Tuesday.
  • Supporters of the DREAM Act started a hunger strike outside Senator Charles Schumer’s Manhattan office. Alison Bowen reports in the latest installment of Beyond Borders.
  • Human rights organization Amnesty International called upon the Peruvian government to drop all charges against indigenous leader Alberto Pizango.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


Central America


Southern Cone

Image:Gobierno de Guatemala @ Flickr.

Subscribe to Today in Latin America by Email