Guatemalan Red Cross continues providing assistance to those affected by the earthquake

Published: 14 July 2014 21:12 CET

This past 7 of July, a strong earthquake once again shook the region of San Marcos, Guatemala, which had been previously affected by a similar quake in 2012.

Since the declaration of an institutional orange alert the Guatemalan Red Cross has continued carrying out damage evaluations and assisting those affected. More than 1,000 volunteers from 20 branches on the national level activated their contingency plans, with the aim to ensuring the safety of vulnerable people through their national intervention teams.

These teams are made up of volunteers and technicians specialized in providing assistance, like water, sanitation and hygiene promotion as well as psychosocial support. Fulfilling its auxiliary role to national and local authorities, the Red Cross has installed a base camp located at its San Marcos branch, where  hygiene kits, kitchen kits, ponchos, water purification filters, tarpaulins have been  delivered and will be distributed to the affected families which have been prioritized following damage and needs evaluations.

Guatemalan Red Cross has carried out damage and needs evaluations which have shown damage to households, as well as damage to infrastructures like churches and other public offices. Local and national authorities are still in the process of delivering aid to the affected areas. “The health situation  is also evident due to the fact that livelihoods have been affected as  well as effects on water sources, that although they are less than the past quake on 7 November 2012, there are still places where water is not fit for human consumption,” added Walter Cocon Emergency Health Programme Coordinator for the Guatemalan Red Cross.

“According to the evaluations, 57,905 people have been affected, 5,827 home have been affected, and one person  has died as a result of the quake, in the 7 departments of the country, these being Huehuetenango, Totonicapán, Sololá, Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Suchitepéquez and the most damage that has been in San Marcos,” said Sergio de León who is heading the Guatemalan Red Cross operation in San Marcos.

Guatemalan Red Cross is providing support through its teams in the field in order to save lives, reduce deaths as a result of the earthquake as well as to tend to the most urgent needs of the population regarding, shelter and early recovery.

Additionally the Guatemalan Red Cross is providing assistance through its medical tours in the towns of San Jose las Islas, El Recreo and Feria, San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta in the municipality of  San Marcos, where aid has reached more than 280 personas with respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections among other medical conditions that required pre hospital assistance.

“The medical tours carried out by the Guatemalan Red Cross are delivered at absolutely no cost for the patients, where highly trained personnel of the Guatemalan Red Cross simultaneously carry out hygiene promotion activities to promote hand washing  and water purification to prevent gastrointestinal and dermatological infections among others that are commonly caused by poor hygiene. They also provide recommendations for the prevention of diseases that are spread by vectors like Dengue and Chikungunya,” said Walter Cocon.

The Guatemalan Red Cross will continue providing humanitarian aid to hundreds of families affected by the earthquake in the areas of community health through its medical tours and psychosocial support, distribution of safe water, hygiene promotion and promotion of healthy nutrition habits as well as strengthening of institutional capacities to address the most urgent needs in the zone.

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