Sunday, October 09, 2005

Prayer request from fellow missionary in Guatemala

Maggie sent me this. Sounds like things are a little ugly right now.

"Hi Friends!

I hope all is well with you guys! It sounds like everyone is having a great time at their various sites.

I have another prayer request - Guatemala is in bad shape right now. I wish this were an email filled with funny stories, but alas.....

We finished language school this past Wednesday and it has been a bit of an adventure ever since, actually our last day was kind of non-existent due to what I thought was only the usual massive amounts of rain that rainy season brings - I don't know if you have heard about it but Guatemala has been ravaged by Hurricane Stan.

I am perfectly safe, as are the other volunteers but the majority of the country is not. Locals here are saying that this hurricane has been more devastating for the country than Mitch back in 1998.
It rained here for 3 or 4 days and has caused massive amounts of flooding and countless landslides. From what I understand from radio reports and newspapers, it seems that almost all the bridges on the Pacific lowlands have been destroyed by the overflowing rivers. There are a lot of people taking refuge on their roofs. In Xela (where I am currently living), the water in Zone 2 was six and a half feet deep. There's no transportation from Xela to much of anywhere.

They are now reporting 250 deaths - I think it may be more by now. I read in an internet article that 30,000 people have been evacuated to shelters from 270 communities.

This is a event with long-term impact. Crops everywhere have been ruined. Most of the Occidente and Sur regions of the country are dramatically affected - this is the area where I was supposed to move on Sunday.

Right now the immediate need is for food and water, but those won't be deliverable until the roads are cleared and bridges repaired/constructed. They are saying it may be two weeks until the roads from here to the Coastal region are cleared and at least 4 days until we can reach the capital city. Marcia thinks it will be longer.

Furthermore, yesterday El Salvador, who was also hit hard by Stan, experienced a large earthquake (I've heard a range on the rictor scale from 5.8-6.5), it was also felt in the Northern regions of Guatemala and in Nicaragua. This is in addition to the volcanic eruption earlier this week in El Salvador and the prediction of another eruption this coming week.

All things considered, we are in high spirits. We are patiently awaiting what we can do to help - attentively observing and taking in all that we can. Please keep us in your prayers.


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