Central America devastated by tropical storm Agatha
A tropical storm that struck three Central American countries over the weekend has left nearly 150 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.
Agatha, the first-named storm during the 2010 Pacific hurricane season hit Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras on Saturday, devastating the region with torrential rains, massive floods and landslides. Plan’s emergency response is focusing on health, child protection in the camps for displaced people and psychosocial support for children emotionally affected by the disaster. All 3 countries have declared state of emergencies.
In Guatemala, which was hit the hardest, 120 people were reported killed and about 110,000 evacuated from areas hit by the storm. Rescue efforts have also been complicated by a volcanic eruption on Thursday, which blanketed parts of the country with ash and closed the main airport.
Plan Guatemala is supporting the national emergency plan and working alongside the government-led national coordinator for disaster reduction.
In El Salvador, at least 179 landslides have been reported and over 11,000 people have been evacuated. Leftover emergency supplies from Hurricane Ida in November 2009 have already been handed out but many more items, including blankets, mattresses, water, medicines, first aid and hygiene kits are still needed.
Plan is currently supporting the El Salvadoran Ministry of Health with educational measures and medicine to help prevent the spread of disease in shelters.
In neighboring Honduras, 17 people have been killed and thousands more have fled their homes. River levels continue to rise, prompting fears that the already evacuated families could have flooding to contend with in the near future. Each Plan Honduras program unit now has a center for emergency operations which is monitoring health, education, sanitation and damage.
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