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Rural families in Central America Impacted by Tropical Storm Agatha
By Saulo Araujo
June 4th, 2010
Thousands of families in Guatemala and Honduras have been left without shelter and food in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agatha. According to our partners in the region, three days of torrential rain destroyed families’ few possessions and dreams of a bountiful harvest this year. Floods washed away the seeds out of the fields as if they were dry leaves on a rooftop.
The losses caused by Agatha mean that farmers will need support to buy seeds and rebuild their homes. It is almost certain that the price of food staples in local markets will increase. Agatha has not only destroyed dreams, but the storm has made everyday life even harder for farmers who depend on their small plots of land to feed their families and provide income for other costs.
I talked with our partners and allies from both Guatemala and Honduras. Their accounts of the destruction levels are similar. Julia Cuc, member of the National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples and Peasants (CONIC) wrote me saying:
After three days of intense rain, many communities were affected by landslides and overflowing rivers. Highways were blocked leaving several rural communities isolated. In some cases, families are incommunicado as telephone lines are not working. Farmers have lost their crops. The most affected regions are the Sololá, South Coast and Quetzaltenango.
Information about the total number of displaced families is still scarce, as rescue groups make their way through muddy and damaged roads and communication is slowly being restored. Rights Action reported recently that over 100,000 people were displaced in Guatemala alone. It might take days or even weeks to get a full picture of the human impacts of Agatha.
I will be posting new information here as it comes to us.