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Church members facing food shortages after Hurricane Stan floods Guatemala


The phrase “worse than Hurricane Mitch” has dreadful resonance in Central America. Mitch, one of the strongest and deadliest Atlantic storms on record, claimed thousands of lives as it smashed through Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in October 1998.
Nonetheless, minister Roberto Alvarez said that Hurricane Stan, which made landfall Oct. 3 in Mexico, was worse than Mitch — at least for his home country, Guatemala.
Though it weakened into a tropical storm after landfall, Stan dumped more than 20 inches of rain in some parts of Guatemala, flooding rural villages and burying whole families in rivers of mud.
“We have news that many people have not eaten in more than four days,” said Alvarez, minister for the North Pineras church, Guatemala City.
At least 950 Guatemalans died, and 3,000 are missing, Alvarez said. Deaths also were reported in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica.

By Erik Tryggestad
The Christian Chronicle

November 1, 2005
The phrase “worsethan Hurricane Mitch” has dreadful resonance in Central America. Mitch, one of the strongest and deadliest Atlantic stormson record, claimed thousands of lives as it smashed through Honduras, Nicaragua,Guatemala and El Salvador inOctober 1998.

Nonetheless, ministerRoberto Alvarez said that Hurricane Stan, which made landfall Oct. 3 in Mexico, was worse than Mitch — at least for hishome country, Guatemala.

Though it weakenedinto a tropical storm after landfall, Stan dumped more than 20 inches of rainin some parts of Guatemala,flooding rural villages and burying whole families in rivers of mud.

“We have news thatmany people have not eaten in more than four days,” said Alvarez, minister forthe North Pineras church, Guatemala City.

At least 950Guatemalans died, and 3,000 are missing, Alvarez said. Deaths also werereported in Mexico, El Salvador, Hondurasand Costa Rica.

More than 4,000church members in southwestern Guatemala,including at least 1,500 children, had little or no food, ministers in the areatold Alvarez. At least 37 church families lost their homes, and at least 62more sustained heavy damage.

Members of theCloudcroft, N.M., church are working with Alvarez to get food and supplies tothe affected areas.

The flooding strandedstaff members at Clinica Ezell, missionaries Kemmel and Lisa Dunham wrote fromthe surgical clinic in Montellano, Guatemala. “Weare working in conjunction with local fire/rescue departments to providesupplies and help with medical emergencies that we can handle,” the Dunhamswrote.

Birmingham,Ala.-based Health Talents International oversees Clinica Ezell and uses it as astaging area for mobile medical clinics in the surrounding Mayan villages. Theministry has several campaigns scheduled for the coming months, but HealthTalents workers said they were concerned that the roads may not open in timefor the visiting health care workers, many of whom already have purchasednon-refundable plane tickets.

In El Salvador the homes of three church familieswere flooded in the San Bartolo region of the capital, San Salvador. Churches in San Miguelcollected clothing for the families, said church member Saul Dubon.

San Salvador minister Alexander Castellanos and his wife, Silvia, werepart of team that visited the church in Apulo, where several families losttheir homes. The group distributed food donated by churches in San Salvador and San Mauricio.

Filed under: International

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