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Tuesday 13 November 2012

ShelterBox assessing need in rattled Guatemala
ShelterBox assessing need in rattled Guatemala People were excavating sand here in El Recreo when the first earthquake hit, Guatemala, November, 2012.

A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) has been carrying out emergency needs assessments in Guatemala's San Marcos, a region devastated by two strong earthquakes in the last week.

The most powerful tremor the Central American country has felt in 40 years, measuring 7.2 in magnitude, hit the mountainous area near the Mexican border on 7 November, damaging infrastructure, cutting power and making hundreds of families homeless.

SRT members Jen Kormendy (CA) and Dan Huisman (CA) were assessing the need for emergency shelter when a second 6.1-magnitude quake struck the same area on 12 November. Although there have been no immediate reports of major damage there is now a sense of panic amongst the communities.

'We had great support from Julio Grazioso in Guatemala City who arranged a helicopter flight for us to San Marcos, saving us the long drive here,' said Jen.

'On edge'

'Many people were happy to see us in their communities as they had not received any other aid. They are very frightened when the tremors come, as they were felt yesterday several times throughout the day and into the night. They all ran out into the streets for safety. They are on edge.

'There is a definite need as many homes are either completely destroyed or uninhabitable due to safety concerns. We have seen many cases of multiple families sleeping under one tarp - this is all they have.'

The SRT is working with local Rotarians and a small non-profit organisation operating in the Highlands of Guatemala known as Mayan Families and will be initially distributing tents using prepositioned stock in country.
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