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Las Cruces, Petén, Guatemala
Post-Flood Recovery Brings New Life and Renewal!


(during flood)

(after cleanup)

In October 2008, devastating flooding hit Petén, Guatemala.  One of the most affected towns was Las Cruces, where 7,000 people were displaced.  Concern America’s work in Petén has been based out of Las Cruces since 1994, and the organization’s project center, the Casa de los Estudios, was under water with many damages to and losses of medicines, one-of-a-kind teaching materials, and the buildings themselves.

In response, supporters of Concern America and the people of Guatemala rallied together and contributed more than $60,000 towards the relief effort!  We at Concern America extend a huge thank you to the hundreds of donors and several foundations that supported our Las Cruces flood recovery efforts.  Your support has touched thousands of those affected by the flooding, both in Las Cruces and throughout Petén.


(during flood)

(after cleanup)

Specifically, the challenges caused by the flooding and Concern America’s response included the following:

  • The health and environmental health promoters traveled to the affected neighborhoods of Las Cruces and other flooded towns and gave talks on water sanitation and distributed chlorine for water purification. The task of sanitizing wells and testing for contaminated water is expected to continue though June of this year.
  • Medicines and medical supplies were quickly distributed to the communities most in need, to be administered by the local health promoters.
  • The project set up an emergency feeding center and health clinic on high ground in Las Cruces and fed over a thousand people during the height of the flooding and regularly attended to flood-related illnesses including the many foot and leg wounds caused by extended contact with contaminated water.
  • No serious outbreaks of disease happened in the region of the Casa, thanks to all the prevention work!!
  • Many of the walls inside the Casa, made of "dry wall," needed to be replaced.  All buildings at the Casa were sanitized and repainted.  The roofing of several buildings is still being completed.
  • Most valued medical reference books were lost and have to be replaced.
  • Many residents received emergency support for simple repairs to make their homes livable.  Some local farmers received help saving crops or seed for new crops.  It is anticipated that there will be malnutrition and hunger in the coming months.  Some unspent funds are set aside to attend to this possibility.
  • Concern America's support extended (and continues to extend) beyond the region of Las Cruces into Sayaxche and Melchor and other communities, attending to similar emergency needs.

It is so inspiring to know how the local communities rallied to help do the work to bring the Casa de Los Estudios back to working condition.  We were told that 150-200 people would show up every day to help dig out the mud, or clean up a space, or wash off muck, or sanitize the well, or restore the clinic exam rooms, or re-paint, or bring food and clothing.  We are so honored by this presence, by this spirit in our workWe know well that that same spirit emanates from every donor.  THANK YOU!!


(during flood)

(after cleanup)