Action Against Hunger has been present in Guatemala since 1998, during which we’ve helped communities recover from the effects of several natural disasters and storms, while working with at-risk communities to address endemic economic instability and poverty. Public safety, migration, drug trafficking, education and poor access to clean water and basic sanitation are some of the challenges facing Guatemalans, and more than half of its population lives below the national poverty threshold, being highly vulnerable to seasonal hunger and food shortages.
The early 2000s saw a range of natural disasters in Guatemala that required Action Against Hunger’s teams to respond to the immediate needs of the affected populations. Our teams helped families made homeless by massive storms relocate to shelters and other safe spaces; we distributed emergency food provisions of corn, beans, sugar, oil, and vitamin supplements to help the displaced; and we supplied tools to assist the local population with clean-up efforts. We also rehabilitated damaged wells and restored safe water in areas where supplies were contaminated by flooding.
On June 1, 2010, tropical storm Agatha battered much of Central America, including Guatemala, where 250 people were killed or went missing and at least 125,000 others lost their homes, livelihoods, and small trades. Action Against Hunger mounted an emergency response for 50,000 people in the hard-hit area of Escuintla, where severe flooding contaminated drinking water and threatened food supplies for thousands of families.