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Habitat Guatemala Responds to the November 7th Earthquake
 
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Severe Earthquake Hits Guatemala
 
On the 7th of November 2012 at approximately 10.35am local time, Guatemala was hit by a violent earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. The epicenter was located a few miles off the Pacific coast, close to the town of Champerico in the department of Retalhuleu. It was the most violent quake to hit the country since the disastrous earthquake of 1976, and was felt across Guatemala as well as parts of El Salvador and Mexico.
 
The most affected departments of the country are San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and Sololá, with damage also seen in Retalhuleu, Totonicapán and the southern regions of Quiche and Huehuetenango. According to preliminary reports from CONRED (the Guatemalan version of FEMA), national newspaper Prensa Libre, and Habitat Guatemala affiliate offices, 52 people have lost their lives and 22 are reported missing; however, these numbers could rise as more information comes to light. CONRED report that in the department of San Marcos alone, 169 people have been reported injured. Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina has announced three days of national mourning.

Buildings constructed using adobe block were the most vulnerable in the quake. Preliminary reports to come out of the department of San Marcos state that 1,019 families have lost their homes, and 2,276 homes have been damaged of which 1,193 are considered severely damaged.. We expect these numbers to continue increasing as further reports are received.

What can we do? Habitat Guatemala will work with affected families as a source of reconstruction assistance through our specialized disaster response program, providing fully subsidized solutions which will support families as they rebuild their homes and their lives in the wake of this tragedy. The response will be concentrated primarily in the department of San Marcos, and secondarily in Sololá and Quetzaltenango, and will pay special attention to families who do not receive help from the government.

The process of selecting families to be supported will be coordinated with the local Habitat committees in the affected departments, who provide vital services to Habitat Guatemala all year round on a voluntary basis. As with all Habitat programs, beneficiary families will also be trained in financial literacy, disaster prevention and mitigation, and preventative health, which will help them to build a future in which they are better equipped to deal with disasters. The families will actively participate in the construction/reparation process, in accordance with Habitat principals.

Habitat for Humanity Guatemala plans to build 50 new homes and repair 150 homes free of charge, working with families who have been left stranded and homeless because of this disaster. We plan to do this by July 2013. We will support these families as they rebuild their lives, but we couldn’t do this without your continual support.

What can you do? We ask for your prayers and thoughts of support for all the families who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones as a result of this earthquake. You can also help by donating to our Disaster Response Fund, supporting our efforts to serve 200 families in need in the department of San Marcos by sending a check to:
Habitat International with Guatemala GT13007 in the memo line to:
Habitat International, 121 Habitat Street, Americus, GA 31709.

Please keep us in your prayers and stand by Guatemala as we recover from this disaster.

In partnership,

Habitat for Humanity Guatemala

News Coverage Videos: ABC News  CNN

Copyright © 2012 Habitat para la Humanidad Guatemala, All rights reserved.
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