Guatemala - May 2010
The first tropical storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season, Agatha, made landfall on the Pacific coast of Guatemala on May 29, dumping more than 426 mm of rain in a short period of time and affecting 21 of the 22 departments of the country. Rainfall and damage across such a large part of the country is a phenomenon not seen since 1948. At the same time the effects of the Pacaya volcanic eruption on May 27 limited and delayed search and rescue operations as well the provision of humanitarian relief. The eruption closed the international airport, and large amounts of volcanic ash clogged water drainage systems. This increased the flooding, rendering many roads impassable and impeding or blocking access to vulnerable populations across the country.
To date, 174 people have been reported killed, and 110 missing. Around 96,500 people are currently being supported in 453 shelters in 206 municipalities, in 21 departments, representing 62% of the total municipalities in the country. In total, approximately 392,600 people need humanitarian assistance, most of whom live in isolated rural areas across the country, many of whom are all but cut off from assistance because of the damage to bridges, country roads and other transportation infrastructure.