Risk of food crisis in Guatemala until late 2006 unless communities' needs are addressed now

Published: 22 November 2005

Indigenous peasant communities in rural areas of Guatemala have lost eighty per cent of their annual maize crops after Hurricane Stan hit the country. There is a serious risk of a food crisis if they don’t get enough aid in the coming months, international aid agency Oxfam warned today.

Indigenous peasant communities in rural areas of Guatemala have lost eighty per cent of their annual maize crops after Hurricane Stan hit the country. There is a serious risk of a food crisis if they don’t get enough aid in the coming months, international aid agency Oxfam warned today.


Carlos Aldana, an aid worker for Oxfam in Guatemala, explained how urgent the needs of these communities are:

“Work to reopen main roads damaged by Hurricane Stan is going at a good pace, but poor indigenous peasants in Guatemala plains need much more. They need safe water, sanitation, the reconstruction of their communal infrastructures and a return to economic activity as soon as possible. They have lost their crops just at harvest time.”

Oxfam International, working with local organizations, earlier today dispatched a convoy loaded with 45 latrines that will improve sanitary conditions in Santiago Atitlán, helping to reduce the risk of disease. The city is hosting hundreds of people that lost their homes and possessions in neighboring communities.

According to the latest official figures, more than 120,000 people who have lost their homes are now living in 140 temporary shelters – mainly schools, churches and community facilities. The Comité de Ayuda Campesina (Peasant Support Committee), a group that works in partnership with Oxfam, has already sent four tons of maize donated by other peasants to the affected communities. Deliveries of maize and clothes will continue in the coming days in Sololá, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Oxfam International is also making provisions for the supply of clean water, along with clothes, medicines and tools for 13,800 people in six different areas.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Carmen Rodriguez in Madrid on + 34 91 204 67 20 or + 34 615 359 401
Hector Oliva in Guatemala (from Oct.12th on) on + 34 618 783 525