On the afternoon of Monday 25th September 2023 heavy rains caused a huge swell of water that filled the river that runs through the city and together with a landslide has caused the death of many people including children.
The ongoing crisis to find suitable homes for people on very low incomes forces many to build simple tin shacks on land that has been designated as uninhabitable. The need for 2.2 million homes exacerbates the desperation that many families living in poverty feel and there is no wonder why they grab any land they can find on which to build their home.
Yesterday´s tragic landslide under the El Naranjo bridge buried many people and numbers are still being counted, but at this early stage it looks like 6 dead and 13 people unaccounted for.
The community, named "God is Faithful", has suffered the greatest loss and includes the very sad news that Karla de Paz and her young son Benjamin, named after Benjamin Soden who worked with her and her family for many years, lost their lives in the landslide. The SKDGuatemala charity is coordinating support for the family and organising the burial of Karla and still hoping that Benjamin´s body will be found. The funeral is planned for tomorrow morning in Guatemala City.
Many local and international organisations have been saying that these types of dwellings, precariously clinging to the mountainside around the capital, are a time-bomb waiting to go off. Most of the shack communities are built on land that has a 30% incline, making it very difficult to build on and when the rains come their homes are are very great risk of being washed away. The charity Techo, have discovered 150 such settlements around the city, all built on land that has been designated as uninhabitable.
Local rescue organisations (photos Prensa Libre, used with permission) continue the rescue efforts today to find victims, but hope has been lost of finding any more alive.
Street Kids Direct continue to work in such communities, focussing on helping children and families at risk. Your support really does help us make a difference and respond to needs and tragedies on a weekly basis.
(Photos Prensa Libre 2023 used with permission)