United States Providing Additional Aid to Guatemala, El Salvador
Increased U.S. help earmarked for victims of Central American natural disasters
By Eric Green
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- The United States is providing additional assistance to the victims of recent natural disasters in Central
In an October 10 statement, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala said the U.S. Army's Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) will provide
search-and-rescue assistance through helicopter missions in Guatemala and will continue to assist in transporting
critically needed relief and emergency personnel to remote areas of the country.
SOUTHCOM also will help in reconstruction efforts in Guatemala, which might include such assistance as transporting
U.S.-donated medical equipment and equipment for rebuilding bridges, schools and energy facilities. SOUTHCOM, based in
Miami, is the regional U.S. military command that works with Latin America and the Caribbean.
The embassy said the U.S. government is committed to working closely with the Guatemalan government and people to meet
the emergency needs caused by Hurricane Stan, which hit the country October 4. In addition to SOUTHCOM's efforts, the
U.S. Embassy, including its U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in the country, is continuing to
provide critical food, water and hygiene supplies to meet priority needs as requested and coordinated by Coordinadora
Nacional para la Reduction de Desastres (CONRED), Guatemala's national disaster-response agency.
The State Department said in an October 7 public announcement that heavy rainfall produced by storms associated with
Hurricane Stan caused floods and landslides in many regions of Guatemala, resulting in extensive loss of life. Most
major highways were cut off, including those leading to several tourist destinations. The State Department said at least
two landslides were reported on the country's main highway from Guatemala City to the Mexican border. Areas along the
Pacific Coast were suffering from rising rivers that washed away some roads and bridges and threatened others.
In a separate action, the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador announced October 7 that the United States has donated $50,000
more for emergency-relief assistance in that Central American country in the wake of heavy rains and flooding.
With this new contribution, the United States has donated $100,000 to assist El Salvador in its current emergency. The
aid is being channeled through the international relief and development agency Catholic Relief Services. That agency,
based in Baltimore, used the first $50,000 U.S. donation to distribute emergency goods for shelters in several areas of
El Salvador. The new donation will be used to provide support to shelters in the cities of Ahuachapán, Santa Ana and
In addition, USAID provided El Salvador with 55 boxes of reinforced plastic sheeting to be used for the construction of
temporary shelters for about 1,650 people. That donation is worth $15,400.
The State Department's October 7 public announcement for El Salvador warned about the dangerous conditions in that
country -- including flooding and mudslides -- in the aftermath of Hurricane Stan and the eruption of the Ilamatepec
The department noted El Salvador's government on October 4 declared a nationwide state of emergency as a result of
continuous torrential rains and flooding. More than 50 deaths in El Salvador have been attributed to weather-related
events, primarily mudslides.
The Salvadoran government has established more than 150 shelters and evacuated more than 34,000 people from the areas
most heavily affected, including evacuations in the immediate vicinity of Ilamatepec, which threatens further eruptions.
Additional travel information about conditions in Guatemala and El Salvador are available on the State Department's Web
site at http://travel.state.gov/
USAID announced on October 4 that it also was providing $50,000 in disaster assistance to Costa Rica, where heavy rains
killed at least eight people and displaced another 1,600. USAID said it is continuing to monitor closely the situation
in Costa Rica.
The United Nations said October 10 it is launching a $22 million "flash appeal" for Guatemala. The organization said the
floods and mudslides caused by Hurricane Stan killed hundreds of people and inflicted estimated damage of more than $400
million to the country's livestock, coffee and banana industries.
The United Nations said Guatemala suffered more than 900 landslides, with entire villages swept away.