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Guatemala: Struggles To Feed 300,000 People

Guatemala: Struggling To Feed 300,000 People, UN Agency Faces Funding Shortfall

More than two months after Hurricane Stan struck Guatemala, and with only a few days left before Christmas, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is facing a funding shortfall of more than $8 million as it rushes non-stop aid to more than 300,000 people threatened by a major food security crisis.

“WFP wants to make sure that every single child, woman and man affected by Stan is not left without food during the coming holidays,” the agency’s Guatemala Emergency Coordinator Helmut Rauch said, calling on international donors to step up.

“We’ve heard and seen enough distress in the field, and we’ve heard too many heartbreaking stories; it’s now time for people to concentrate on rebuilding their lives. WFP food will enable them to do just that,” he added.

Contributions so far cover only 42 per cent of WFP’s $14.1 million appeal, leaving a shortfall of $8.1 million.

Working closely with strategic partners in the field, WFP will deliver 5,000 metric tons of food aid throughout December and January to more than 60,000 families in the western highland and southern Pacific regions, many of whom lost their crops and homes.

On 5 October, Hurricane Stan devastated a swath of the Central American country, directly affecting 1.5 million people and leaving behind increased vulnerability and food insecurity. Since the emergency started, WFP has provided nearly 2,000 tons of food to the worst affected communities.

Representative of the victims is Jaime Velasquez Bautista, 40, who lost his wife when trying to save his two oldest daughters from the mudslides. He was left with no house or crops and all his savings were inside his demolished home. He has five children to feed and a broken arm that hinders him from finding work.

“WFP’s mission is to identify and provide food to families like Jaime’s,” Mr. Rauch said. “This is why we continue to urge the international community not to forget about people in Guatemala.”

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