A year after devastating hurricane, many Guatemalans still need UN assistance

10 October 2006

Thousands of Guatemalans still depend on emergency food aid, one year after Hurricane Stan killed more than 1,500 people and devastated communities and landscapes across Central America, the United Nations’ humanitarian arm said today.

The World Food Programme (WFP) needs $4 million to keep providing assistance to affected Guatemalans through February next year, according to a press release issued by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York.

Some 1,513 people were killed, 386 others injured and nearly 500,000 more affected in Guatemala when Hurricane Stan struck last year, dumping torrential rains and causing floods and mudslides.

The hurricane originally made landfall in southern Mexico on 4 October, before moving across Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Guatemala was by far the worst affected, with almost $1 billion of damage reported in that nation alone.

An evaluation earlier this year by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) found that Guatemala’s economic losses were equivalent to 3.4 per cent of its gross national product (GNP).

WFP provides emergency food packages to thousands of people in Guatemala’s poorest regions – its monthly allotment for a family of five comprises 87 kilograms of food, including maize, corn soy blend, beans and vegetable oil. About 21,000 people are also housed in temporary shelters or give other non-food assistance by UN agencies, which have helped at least 285,000 people over the last year.

 

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