At least 48 people have been killed and 20 are missing after a 7.4-magnitude quake hit off of Guatemala's Pacific coast at about 10:30 AM local time, the worst since a 1976 quake that left 25,000 people dead. Seventy-three thousand people have been left without electricity, forcing people out on to the streets and into shelters. Travel from the San Marcos province, the epicenter of the earthquake, has been severely restricted, as landslides have buried roads and destroyed over 30 buildings, covering the region in rubble.
According to AlertNet, evacuations took place as far away as Mexico City, and many of Guatemala’s dead have been buried under debris from landslides and collapsed buildings. President Otto Perez, who visited San Marco early on Wednesday, said “it’s very sad to meet people here who are waiting to find their families who are still buried. It’s really a tragedy and we will do all we can to help the families that are suffering.”
SOS Guatemala Suffers No Damage
A girl from the SOS Social Center in Nuevo San Carlos, Retalhuleu. Photo courtesy of Mr. Joris Lugtigheid.
Fortunately, none of the SOS Children’s Villages' programs in Guatemala have been affected by the earthquake. SOS locations in Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Cristóbal were close to the epicenter of the quake, only 14 miles from the hardest hit town of Champerico on the Pacific Coast.
SOS has 20 programs in Guatemala, cares for over 2,500 beneficiaries and has been operating in the region since 1976, when an earthquake destroyed much of the country. Over the past 30 years, SOS has helped support and care for vulnerable children and families across Guatemala through five SOS Villages, five youth facilities, one vocational training center and ten SOS Social Centers.
Reaching out to the Victims of Disaster
Now, in the face of this terrible tragedy and a long progress of rebuilding, SOS Children’s Villages Guatemala is preparing to offer emergency aid to the children and families that were affected by the earthquake. Shelter, clothing, food, medical supplies and psychosocial assistance are all desperately needed in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Donate to SOS Children’s Villages today or sponsor a Village to help provide essential disaster relief support to the people of Guatemala. Children and families throughout the San Marcos and Quetzaltenango provinces have been without food and shelter. Your donation today can help ensure that Guatemala’s children are not left alone and vulnerable during this difficult time.