On 12 October 2011, Tropical Depression 12-E entered Guatemala and dropped more than 38cm of rain on parts of the country, creating an emergency situation throughout the nation. Initial assessments estimated that more than half a million people were affected by the storm. Some 21,000 people were evacuated to shelters, 27,000 houses were damaged, dozens of bridges were destroyed and 29 schools needed repair.
The torrential rain caused rivers to overflow and drowned crops, impacting jobs and livelihoods in the agriculture sector. As a consequence, food insecurity was compromised, affecting the nutritional status of the most vulnerable groups, such as children under age 2 and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Guatemala has the highest stunting rates in children under age 5 in Latin America, and worldwide is ranked fourth in stunting. The timely identification of acute malnutrition and the adequate management and referral of cases were life-saving priorities.
CERF provided more than $2.2 million to UN agencies and IOM to assist 135,000 people in 7 departments of Guatemala hit by Tropical Depression 12-E.
CERF funds supported the most vulnerable 135,000 people, including 42,000 children under the age of 5.
$214,000 allowed UNICEF to address and prevent cases of acute malnutrition through local screening, nutritional counselling and supplies for more than 15,000 people, including 8,400 children younger than 5. More than 100 children identified as acutely malnourished received therapeutic foods.
UNICEF also provided clean water and sanitation to 53 shelters, including rehabilitation of water systems in 6 health centres and 17 communities, and cleaned and disinfected 438 wells for the benefit of 23,000 people.
CERF projects helped WHO provide clean water, latrines and health education activities for 24,000 people, including 4,800 children under age 5.
CERF funds helped WHO re-establish health facilities and implement emergency health measures. Essential medicines were distributed and 3,100 medical check-up visits by mobile medical brigades benefited more than 12,000 people.
CERF funds helped UNFPA carry out home visits to provide family planning and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention information to 590 people. Prenatal consultations were given to 94 women and micronutrient supplements were provided to 160 women and 429 children.
CERF funds helped IOM ensure safe conditions for 1,500 families living in communal centres and shelters, benefiting some 8,400 people, including 772 children under age 5.
CERF funds helped UNICEF, IOM and UNFPA establish safe living and sanitary conditions in temporary shelters for more than 2,000 families affected by Tropical Depression 12-E.
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A family walks in the flooded water in search of food. © UNICEF/Guatemala
"CERF funds allowed for the distribution of food within one week of the onset of the emergency…The CERF contribution was essential to maintain nutritional indicators at manageable levels."
"CERF funding contributed to better coordination among the Humanitarian Country Team, UN agencies and participating NGO and government institutions at the national and sub-national level. Joint development of the CERF proposal gave participants the opportunity to coordinate interventions geographically, thus ensuring wide coverage of areas in need and helping to avoid overlaps in interventions and duplication of efforts."
- Rene Mauricio Valdes, UN Resident Coordinator, Guatemala