Guatemala on Wednesday made an international call for assistance to recover from the damage caused by the passage of cyclone Eta, which left some 46 dead, 96 missing and almost 700,000 affected by landslides and floods last week, the Foreign Ministry reported.
“The national response capacity has been exceeded,” Oscar Cossio, executive secretary of the Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), said in a statement, explaining the urgency of the call to the international community.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent the call to the diplomatic corps, international organizations and international cooperation agencies accredited in Guatemala and through diplomatic missions abroad, Conred detailed.
“The objective of this action is to coordinate in an agile and timely manner, through the orderly administration, optimization and accountability of the international humanitarian aid and assistance required to meet the needs of the affected population,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo on Wednesday delivered to the United States Ambassador, William W. Popp, an official letter in which the government of President Alejandro Giammattei requests that Washington grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for migrants who have an irregular status in the North American country.
“The Government of Guatemala reiterates the need for Guatemalans who are currently in the United States to remain and not be deported, under this temporary protection regime,” Brolo commented.
The chancellor addressed the letter to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
An estimated 2.7 million Guatemalans live in the United States, but only 400,000 have work permits.
Between last January and September, Guatemalans abroad, especially the United States, sent $8 billion in remittances, a figure higher than the same period last year.
The Guatemalan Congress declared this Wednesday a state of public calamity in 10 of its 22 departments.
On Tuesday, Guatemalan first responders and military suspended the search for missing persons in an indigenous community in the north, where some 150 homes were buried by a landslide.
According to authorities, the landslide left at least 100 indigenous Mayans buried in that impoverished area of the country. Only eight bodies were recovered.
Eta’s passage through Central America left more than 200 dead and missing and thousands affected after making landfall in Nicaragua on November 3 as a Category 4 hurricane.
After passing through Central America, Eta went to Cuba and then to the U.S. state of Florida.