Brussels, 8 January 2010
Guatemala: the Commission provides €1,325 million in humanitarian aide to cope with the drought
The situation in the "dry corridor" of Guatemala bordering Honduras and Salvador has become critical. The region is suffering from a severe drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon. The European Commission has therefore allocated €1.325 to help those populations most affected. The funds will be channelled through the Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) with projects implemented by its humanitarian partners.
"Central America, especially Guatemala, has been particularly hard hit by El Nino this season. Thanks to our presence in Nicaragua, we have been able to quickly appraise the situation in the region and to rapidly intervene to assist the most vulnerable. This funding will enable the 20,000 beneficiaries to survive the period between the depletion of their reserves and the next harvest" explained Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.
The funding will provide food assistance, the distribution of seeds, food-for-work programmes, the improvement of water distribution and stocking systems, as well as a system of surveillance for food security. Around 20,000 of the most vulnerable people in the region, whose survival is threatened by the recent climatic events, will benefit from this aid.
Food availability in the region has become perilous over the past few months as the drought has led to a loss of 70% of the harvest in certain parts of the country. The Commission's Humanitarian Aid department is closely monitoring the situation with its partners and the information gathered has shown that, at present, food stocks for the people benefitting from this decision will be depleted during January. The next harvest will not be gathered until May/June 2010.