AMERICA/GUATEMALA - “Children must be a priority in care for hurricane victims”. In many centres medical supplies are dwindling; out of reach for humanitarian workers Chichoy villagers have run out of food

Thursday, 13 October 2005

Guatemala City (Fides Service) - In the latest report on the situation after hurricane Stan Caritas Guatemala said many of the victims were children: “Stan left in its wake grief, death and destruction. Hundreds died, including many children, and those who survived lost families and emotional stability. In many affected areas medical supplies are dwindling and children suffer most. Those under five are prone to gastrointestinal, respiratory e dermatological illness”. Caritas Guatemala said “families ask not to be abandoned and call for solidarity. They need help to rebuild homes and save harvests”.
Seven villages in the Tecpan district, Chimaltenango are still isolated. The 500 people living in Chichoy village have run out of food and humanitarian workers cannot reach the area because the roads are impracticable: “We have nothing to eat. The three village shops are empty” said Rufino Guarcax, representative of Chichoy development council.
Bishop Pablo Vizcaíno of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu said his diocese was among the most affected at the national level: although less people died here than in other parts of Guatemala, the material damage was enormous: 10,834 homeless families, 115 affected villagers. The Bishop is concerned that “the worst is still to come, particularly when humanitarian aid stops and our families are left to fend for themselves”. He said the diocese will do all it can to offer assistance to the families until they have rebuilt their homes and reaped the first harvest. Therefore Bishop Vizcaíno asks for help and expresses gratitude for solidarity which has arrived from many sides. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 13/10/2005, righe 25, parole 365)