Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association relief news from Guatemala.
Since October 12, heavy rains resulting from a tropical depression throughout Central America and southern Mexico claimed the lives of nearly 100 people, with states of emergency declared as hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Flood victim (M): We are suffering a lot… (tearing) There were many losses as I’ve lost more than two truckloads of corn and also my colleagues as well.
VOICE: Guatemala was among the hardest hit as overflowing rivers caused crop losses and destruction of over 2,100 homes and infrastructure. Fortunately, of the 13,000 affected, those in need of evacuation were helped by the government. However, since then diseases have begun to spread, especially among children, due to conditions following the storms.
Flood victim (M): What was every 18 to every 20 years now has become more frequent, every year to every two years for three decades.
Flood victim (F): We have been suffering for several years due to the floods filling our homes. We have had to leave the house like three or four times.
VOICE: Expressing her love and sorrowful prayers for the affected region, Supreme Master Ching Hai requested that our nearby Association members in the affected countries please find out if help was required and to go to comfort the flood-stricken, pledging US$50,000 in urgent aid for wherever it was most needed.
This amount could obtain US$422,000 in supplies if purchased in the United States, based on the region's average cost of living. Of this donation, US$10,000 went toward Guatemala, and Supreme Master Ching Hai also reimbursed travel and related expenses of $1,580 for our Association’s relief team whose members arrived from Costa Rica. With the cooperation and help of the Guatemalan National Coordination for Disaster Reduction
(CONRED), the Civil Defense, Red Cross, and First Scouts, 555 food packages were packed to last up to two weeks.
Items included rice, beans, corn flour, noodles, cooking oil, salt, sugar, oatmeal,and coffee. Representatives from the organizations also helped locate a total of nine communities whose situations were the most desperate, with many that could only be reached by difficult roads and some that had to be accessed by boat.
Relief recipient (F): We very much thank Master Ching Hai who brought all the things here.
Relief recipient (F): We’re ever grateful for this association with Supreme Master Ching Hai and her goodness of heart through God in giving us this aid.
Children(M,F): Thank you!
VOICE: With thanks for the response of all officials, organizations, and individuals in assisting the disaster-afflicted, we join in gratefulness for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s detailed care and for the help of our Association’s relief team. May such calamitous events be eased through our joined efforts to be more conscientious stewards of the ecosphere.