ACT Alliance Alert: Drought in Guatemala

by Elisabeth Gouel | | ACT Alliance - Switzerland
Thursday, 28 August 2014 10:57 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.



Drought in Guatemala

Geneva, 27 August 2014

1.    Brief description of the emergency and impact

Today a State of Public Calamity was declared for the departments of: Jutiapa, Chiquimula, Santa Rosa, Quiché, El Progreso, Huehuetenango, Baja Verapaz, Zacapa, Retalhuleu, Sololá, Totonicapán, Chimaltenango, San Marcos, Guatemala, Jalapa Suchitepéquez, affected by El Niño, climate phenomenon inducing extreme weather conditions, resulting in a prolonged drought, affecting food security, health, welfare and economy of the inhabitants in the departments listed. The government informed that 236,000 families in those departments are directly affected. In the affected region, 56% of the communities have no possibility of planting, 80% of corn is lost by prolonged drought and 208 out of 331 municipalities are affected by the lack of rain this year.

Prensa Libre, a local newspaper informed that at least 500,000 children fewer than 5 years old are on risk of acute malnutrition due the food shortages caused by prolonged drought this year, and as effect of climate change impact. Also this newspaper reported that the lack of rain hit 80% of corn and beans, mainly for the eastern region of Guatemala.

According to information from government the total losses in local currency are around USD 58 million.

2.    Why is an ACT response needed?

The ACT Forum is working with affected communities in the areas impacted directly by the drought, and they are requesting support from ACT.

3.    National and international response

There is not big intervention by national and international humanitarian organizations. All organizations are undertaken assessments to define their intervention according the level of this crisis.

4.    ACT Alliance response

The ACT Guatemala Forum convened an urgent meeting to make decisions regarding the emergency, based on updated information from communitarian assessments

5.    Planned activities

a)    Initial response to the crisis, providing food items mainly corn and beans
b)    Provide clean water
c)    Support livelihoods rehabilitation

6.    Constraints

•    Some political interference, because the next year the country will have Presidential elections.
•    Security: These areas are affected for drug traffic activities.
•    Availability of resources from ACT members.
•    The possible impact of a new emergency in the country.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (