[permaculture] Fwd: Message from IMAP/Guatemala permaculturistas

Michael Burns burns at panix.com
Thu Nov 3 11:21:05 EST 2005

------------------------------ Original Message ------------------------------
Subject: At your service...
From:    "Perma Cultura" <imapermacultura at gmail.com>
Date:    Tue, November 1, 2005 12:00 pm
To:      burns at panix.com

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Sponsors,

Thank you very much for your economic support and your encouraging words that
have kept us working and contributing to ameliorate the desperate situation
faced by the people of Santiago Atitlan.

It has been almost three weeks since Hurricane Stan hit southern Mexico,
Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica. It is clear by now that Guatemala
suffered the most, not only materially, but also with the loss of human life.
Because the counting of the dead continues, final figures will not be known
for some time. There are still communities that remain isolated and mudslides
continue to occur, blocking roads. The Agriculture Minister estimates that the
cultivated land damaged by the storm encompasses an area the size of El
Salvador, principally on the coast and western highlands, the latter being the
area with the most productive lands and population, but also poverty.

Of the many communities that were affected, Santiago Atitlan is the one that
suffered the highest loss of life. Most of the deaths occurred in settlements
around Santiago that were built in obviously precarious sites. Sadly, in
Guatemala, necessity and desperation born of poverty will override security

>From the moment the scale of the destruction became clear, IMAP has worked
non-stop in bringing assistance to Santiago, focusing its limited resources in
this providing relief to this nearby town. We have joined the Water and
Sanitation Committee formed by local authorities, and which also includes
Water for People, Doctors Without Borders, and OXFAM GB. Together we have
brought to the community 48 water tanks that can hold 100,000 liters, 40
portable toilets, and secured one month supply of clorox for the town's water
system. An IMAP staff member, Alvaro Castro, is working full time chlorinating
and monitoring the water supply for all of the temporary shelters. We are also
working to secure a permanent water purification system for the town, sincethe
lake water is greatly contaminated.

Another task that IMAP has undertaken is dealing with the massive quantities
of mud and soil that washed into town and currently block its entrance. While
the predilection of the authorities is simply to dump it somewhere else, IMAP
has begun to deal with this material by composting it and thereby turning this
problem into an advantage. IMAP eventually hopes to process some one hundred
tons of this material.

IMAP also plans to provide assistance for those that will remain in shelters
for some time. Although some of the families that have been affected will be
able to return to their homes once the cleanup is completed, many have no
homes to return to, and will have to remain for some time in a semi-permanent
shelter that the government is currently building, a structure that will house
150 families. Right now, there is an adequate supply of food, medicine and
volunteers, but that is likely to dry up in the near future, once Guatemala
fades from the news. IMAP plans to continue helping after the other aid
providers have left.

We hope that you all will continue to have us in your thoughts and your
continued support is greatly apreciated. Once we pass the more
criticalperiod, we will send you detailed information on what has been
achieved, the current situation and pictures.

Sincerely yours,

Rebecca, Gabino, Martín, Félix and Rony
The IMAP team

Instituto Mesoamericana de Permacultura
San Lucas Tolimán, Departamento de Solola
Guatemala, Centro America
55848111 - Ronaldo Lec
57868033 - Rebecca Cutter

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