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November 3 2011 | GUATEMALA

Floods in Guatemala: the aid of the Community of Sant'Egidio and the plans to rebuild affected settlements

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In Guatemala, as in the rest of Central America, October's heavy rains, caused by Tropical Depression 12-E, have devastated the Country.

Over 40 dead and large urban and rural areas affected by the floods, landslides and mudslides. The road communication system collapsed and entire regions are isolated and hard to reach even for aid missions.

In some remote areas of Guatemala City this emergency has once again raised the issue of the security of unauthorized settlements built on the steep slopes of "barrancos".


In some of these settlements, such as Joyita, in Guatemala City - where some houses have collapsed - a project of the Community of Sant'Egidio that started three months ago, is traning a group of 40 volunteers on prevention and first response to emergencies in cooperation with the municipality and CONRED.




This group became quikly active and helped to manage a refugee center (in the picture), taking charge of about 150 people. Moreover it organized the distribution of food, games and drawings with the children, visiting the families that are still in their homes, setting up meetings to convince people to move to safer areas.


Fortunately, the critical phase of this emergency is ending, but the experience of past days has shown how important it is to build a culture of prevention and risk management that starts from the bottom and involves the people living in these settlements.

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