Follow Up for Emergency Relief Activity in Totonicapan, Guatemala
Guatemala is a Central American Country that recently suffered several earthquakes in different provinces. Though the latest earthquake which hit Guatemala City on March 25th 2013 did not cause much damage, the one before which occurred on November 2012, with a magnitude of 7.4 left 42 people dead and many more in devastation. The disaster is reported as the worst earthquake since 1976 which killed 23,000 people.
Soon after the earthquake in November 2012, AMDA dispatched the emergency relief team to the community of Totonicapan, one the most distressed areas. In the relief operation, the team distributed tents and sleeping bags to the survivors.
After the emergency phase, the government of Guatemala launched the rehabilitation assistance for the victims, however it became obvious that the indigenous communities of Totonicapan, San Marcos and Province of Central Highlands needed further support in order to recover from the damage. In Totonicapan, there are over 100, 000 people who were affected by the disaster and 73 houses were destroyed. AMDA delivered the services to the people who are vulnerable but less visible thus not being easily reached by the external assistance. Even in non-emergency situation, the people lead their life in extreme poverty which makes them less prepared for disasters. The province has the issue of higher morbidity and mortality rate of mothers and children.
The follow up activity was carried out on March 18th 2013, and led by the local AMDA coordinator. The team was consisted of 1 medical doctor, 1 community leader, 1 director of the women's office and 2 public officials of Municipality of Totonicapan. The Mayor of Totonicapan also helped the activity.
AMDA coordinator specified the family with the help of women's group in the community, and distributed the food package containing beans, rice, oil, corn flour, rolled oats and cereal. The process was assisted by the people in the community and successfully delivered the relief goods to 80 families in 4 remote villages (Media Cuesta, Chimente, Maczul and Tzanixman).
AMDA coordinator recalls that the spirit of Sogo-Fujo was seen at the preparation as well as the implementation process, and the services could meet the needs of the people who faced the malnutrition and lack of access to various social services. AMDA strongly believes that the activity will lead to the peace and solidarity between Japan and Guatemala since the activity could deliver the very simple message "We are friends, and we have not forgotten about you.".