Relief News Update from Guatemala - 21 Dec 2010  
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Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association relief news update from Guatemala.

After being pummeled by earlier storms such as Tropical Storm Matthew, Guatemala was struck with torrential rain and mudslides in October that caused two children to perish. Some 40,000 people were affected, with many families rendered homeless, particularly in Petén Department. When the calamities were first reported in October, Supreme Master Ching Hai conveyed her condolences and prayers as she donated US$5,000 for emergency assistance. In accordance with her requests, our Association members carried out relief work, also contributing US$2,700 of their own funds. Upon receiving their updated report, Supreme Master Ching Hai donated an additional US$10,000 to purchase urgent items for children and those most in need. This combined amount of US$17,700 could acquire US$158,000 in items obtained in the United States, based on Guatemala’s cost of living.

Our Association members from Colombia and Costa Rica traveled to Guatemala City and from there drove 9 hours to visit the most-affected families in Petén. Upon their arrival, they discussed the situation with the CONRED (Coordinadora Nacional para la Reduccion de Desastres) disaster services director, who said that four communities in La Libertad had not yet received aid, and that some families in three other communities helped earlier by our Association’s first relief team were once again seriously in need of food. Many of these families had lost their livelihoods along with all their crops.

Correspondent (F): Halo. We are in the Department of Petén in Guatemala, Central America, where the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association relief team is giving food aid once again to the families affected by storm Matthew. These families have lost everything.

Edwin Yovanny Martínez, Regional Delegate, CONRED, Petén Department, Guatemala (M): The houses came to be submerged from 1 meter to 2.10 meters of water. Families had to evacuate to the shelter areas such as schools, halls, or churches, where we gave them minimal help.

Relief recipient 5 (F): We would endure the needs for the children, we would be able to bear it a bit, but they won’t be able to bear anything.

Relief recipient 4 (F): They ask what to eat and sometimes we say there’s nothing left. Even sometimes I would cry because I wanted to prepare my food but I saw that my wood was wet and couldn’t do anything. We came back home, but up to where the water rose is all rotten.

VOICE: Our Association members purchased vegan food supplies for 500 families, including rice, beans, oil, wheat flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and soya milk, cookies and candies for the children, which were packed with the help of military and CONRED personnel. Accompanied by CONRED’s delegate Mr. Martínez, they delivered the aid to the grateful flood victims.

Relief recipient 1 (F): Master, I do not know how to thank you, but in advance, I thank you with all my heart because we were suffering a crisis, we are very grateful for all that you have done for us.

Relief recipient 3 (F): We really thank you because of your caring support to us. We send you a kiss and a warm hug. Thank you very much.

Edwin Yovanny Martínez, Regional Delegate, CONRED, Petén Department, Guatemala (M): I want to thank God and Master Ching Hai for the support that is being given to the Department of Petén. The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association already came once to deliver aid and now we have a second support that, for us, as well as Petén and Guatemala, is important because it’s covering 100% of the people who were affected and we had not been able to reach them, nor did we have the ability to give the minimal attention so they can survive in this difficult time.

Relief recipients: Thank you, Master!

Correspondent (F): Reporting for Supreme Master Television from Petén Department, in Guatemala.

VOICE: Our appreciation Mr. Martínez, CONRED, and Guatemala’s military personnel, for your kind assistance. We are also thankful for Supreme Master Ching Hai’s detailed care of the Guatemalan people, and for the dedicated efforts of our Association’s relief team. May Heaven bless the storm-stricken residents with a smooth recuperation of stable day-to-day lives as humanity’s gentler care for each other and the environment helps ease such extreme conditions as these.