Guatemala City (Fides Service) - Bishop Gabriel Peñate, Vicar Apostolic of Izabal, has expressed concern and disappointment that international media have removed the spotlight from the tragedy in countries affected by the fury of nature and called for solidarity to continue: “Now that Hurricane Stan has gone, leaving in its wake over 2,000 dead, Guatemala seems to be once again a country of little interest for the rest of the world. And yet thousands of people continue to suffer having lost everything, family, home, land, animals, harvests”. Certain that God is with them and that his love will be expressed in solidarity from all the brothers, the Bishop said: “they rely on solidarity from the rest of the country and the international community to overcome this tragedy and go forward”.
According to the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent two weeks after Hurricane Stan Guatemala still has urgent need of food, water and shelters. “The size of the disaster is such that emergency aid will be needed for months to come. People need shelters, food, medical assistance and help with rebuilding” said Nelson Castaño, co-ordinator of the All America Disaster Response Unit (PADRU(UPARED).
According to the latest bulletin from COMRED (national co-ordination for disaster reduction) the provisional total damage caused by Stan was: 669 dead, 844 missing, 386 injured, 474,821 displaced, 3.5 million directly or indirectly affected, over 9,000 homes destroyed and 26,000 damaged. About 43,000 people in temporary shelters. It is feared the total number of dead may be as high as 2,000. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 25/10/2005, righe 22, parole 304)