Monday, July 12, 2010

San Antonio Palopo and Agatha

On Saturday, May 30, 2010, Guatemala was hit by tropical storm Agatha. Ten thousand people in villages around Lake Atitlan are living in temporary shelters because their homes have been destroyed. San Antonio was the worst-hit of the villages. Twenty-two people were killed, 40 homes destroyed, the water system destroyed, and one of the two schools declared unsafe. ICOatitlan is working with a group of San Antonio residents who have organized to respond to the crisis. These residents are working closely with the elected town council. 

Here’s what they have accomplished so far: 
With the help of funds sent by ICOatitlan friends, they have installed a pumping system to pump water from the lake and large tanks holding water treated with chlorine. Four doctors are now working at the San Antonio health clinic (as opposed to a half-time doctor they had before the disaster).  Our team was able to meet their urgent request for medicines.
San Antonio is a village of weavers. Women traditionally weave on a simple belt loom, while men weave on foot looms. As well as having their houses destroyed, many weavers lost their looms. ICOatitlan is replacing these looms (the municipality is lending a large space to house them), as well as a sewing machine lost in the slide. 
The families who lost their homes are currently living in temporary rooms; some are with extended family and some are in rented rooms. It'll be a long time before homes are re-built.Suitable land must be found and bought. ICOatitlan has helped make life more livable by providing each family with a portable gas-fuelled cooker, and has also provided mattresses for many of the families.  Urgent funds are needed for ICOatitlan to continue in a supporting role. To donate to this initiative, please go to this LINK and indicate that your donation is for the Guatemalan projects. No matter how small, 100% of the donation goes to the donor's choice of ICO initiative.
Registered Canadian Charity BN/Registration Number: 871126249RR0001 

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