Guatemala Flash Appeal 2005 - Floods and Mudslides

10 October 2005


In the period from 4 to 9 October 2005 heavy rains affected the Southern Coast and western highlands of Guatemala as a result of Hurricane “Stan”, with precipitation as high as 267 mm on one day. Flooding and mudslides have ensued in many parts of the country with heavy rainfall continuing to cause damage in affected areas. 

Flooding and landslides have caused loss of life, injury and displaced persons as well as damage to housing and infrastructure in 251 of 331 municipalities in 15 of the country’s 22 departments. Poor and isolated communities have been particularly badly affected, especially indigenous women and children given their lack of access to survival resources. There have been over 900 landslides and considerable damage to a high proportion of roads and bridges. In the highland and south-western departments of Solola and San Marcos, entire villages have been swept away by landslides, with significant loss of life. The most vulnerable communities have lost their livelihoods and income and their survival conditions will remain precarious for a number of months. Unless immediate measures are implemented to overcome the impacts of this disaster, extreme poverty and acute malnutrition will increase, as will the Government’s challenge in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Preliminary information late on 9th October shows: 

- 652 deaths
- 384 missing people
- 130,179 persons affected
- 89,675 persons housed in 280 temporary shelters
- 5,225 houses damaged
- 421 affected communities 

These statistics will increase, as areas not yet reached by emergency services are included. 


There are immediate needs in food, water, personal hygiene, temporary shelter, bedding and essential medicines. The National Council for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) has coordinated responses under a declared State of National Calamity (Emergency). Through the Diplomatic corps and UN system, the President has requested international assistance in food, shelter, medicines and securing access to affected areas. Over the next 6 months, the UN will coordinate its responses with Government, CONRED and NGO partners. Key proposed actions are: 

  • Water, sanitation and hygiene: evaluation of the water and sanitation conditions, provision of water purification and water containers, cleaning and disinfection of wells, establishment of waste disposal services, and dissemination of information; 
  • Food security: dietary support to the most vulnerable and food insecure households, monitor needs of children and lactating or pregnant women, ensure recovery of acutely malnourished children, promotion of food production activities; 
  • Shelter and non-food items: conduct a census of affected population, construct shelters and provide emergency non-food supplies (bedding, cooking etc.), reconstruction and re-equipping of damaged schools, ensure protection from violence; 
  • Health services: prevention of infectious disease outbreaks; establish medical brigades; provide essential medicines, health, hygiene and reproductive health kits, psychological support services; 
  • Communication and access to services: facilitate access to affected areas through the re-establishment of radio communications, direct contact with population through pedestrian bridges and immediate transport of goods;

Inter-agency coordination and support: damage assessment, emergency technical assistance to CONRED, disaster management and joint monitoring of the recovery process. 

This Flash Appeal urgently seeks US$ 24,670,000 for projects to address immediate needs. 

Document History

10 October 2005

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