Sep 13, 2010

guatemalans face more extreme weather

by PhilLee — last modified Sep 13, 2010 03:25 PM

Climate injustice worsens every day in Guatemala as the country is repeatedly battered by tropical storms. This year tropical storms Agatha and Alex have affected the country with heavy rains causing widespread disruption and death.

The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction reported that in the wake of the most recent storms, September 7, 46 people died, 272 were injured and 40 are missing. Meanwhile 13,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. 


The Inter-American highway has been damaged and part of it is temporarily closed whilst rivers, already swollen as a result of tropical storm Agatha, continue to burst their banks. 


On September 6 a bus lost control as a result of the bad weather and ended up in the Selegua river killing seven people and injuring 24. Of the injured several were associared with CEIBA/ Friends of the Earth Guatemala. Those people were Milton Santos Velásquez, Francisca Sales Velásquez, Francisca López Morales and Humberto Maldonado Méndez who were strong advocates of equal rights and the defence of territories. 


Guatemala is currently in a state of emergency as a result of the recent incidents. The mudslides caused by the tropical storms Agatha and Alex have caused a great deal of damage to the country's infrastructure and the most recent storm has led to the death of many people buried by mudslides on the route of the Inter-American highway. As a result part of this vital artery linking the region's major cities is closed. 


The Guatemalan President has estimated the country's losses to be more than $US160 million. 


Speaking on the dire situation a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Guatemala said:


"We need to start listening to nature's call and urge the rich developed nations to stop exploiting Mother Earth and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming and environmental destruction."