ChildFund Responds to Guatemala Drought

by Anne Edgerton
ChildFund Disaster Management Team Leader

Anne with children.

Guatemala is experiencing the beginning of a nutritional emergency caused by drought in the country’s eastern region, known as the coredor seco — the dry corridor.

The lack of rainfall caused some Guatemalans to lose their entire harvest for 2009. The loss will have a year-long impact on these agricultural communities, as each family normally stores its harvest until the next rainy season. They depend on their crops to provide food for all family members.

This crisis is predicted to increase in gravity this month. In the coming months, affected families will not only lack their own food stores, the poorest community members will be unable to purchase food, as prices spike during a drought.

In Guatemala, the agricultural sector accounts for one-fourth of national GDP. The drought has already generated a high local unemployment rate, eliminating subsistence agriculture as a form of employment.

A Guatemalan (former sponsored child) surveys the dry countryside.

Given all of these deteriorating conditions, malnutrition is already present in children under age five in some communities. In response, ChildFund Guatemala is redirecting funds in affected communities to address this crisis. We will be providing nutritional supplementary food to the most vulnerable children in ChildFund communities. In addition, we will be working with parents on the use of kitchen gardens and orchards and providing education on nutritional health. By introducing alternative resources and skills, we aim to help children and families better cope with this crisis.

In the eastern areas where ChildFund works, there are no other international partners. ChildFund will use current community-based monitoring systems and will increase coordination with Guatemala’s Ministry of Health as a means of strengthening community management of malnutrition.

To donate to the ChildAlert emergency fund, click here.

4 responses to “ChildFund Responds to Guatemala Drought

  1. Thanks for this information. Beside a donation to the emergency fund, I suppose a way to help would be to send an extra monetary gift to my sponsored child and his family through the ChildFund office here in the States?

    • ChildFund International

      Yes, you can donate to the ChildAlert emergency fund (click link in blog post and choose Alert fund from drop-down menu), or you can contact our Donor Services department (800-776-6767) and arrange for an additional gift to be sent directly to the child your sponsor. Thank you for your concern!

  2. Thank you, Anne, for this news. I had not heard of this in the US media. I sponsor a child in the Xalapan project. Can you tell me whether this project is in the area about which you have written? I assume it is.

    • ChildFund International

      Here’s what we have learned from ChildFund’s Guatemala area coordinator for the emergency response: The area covered by the Xalapan project has been severely affected by the drought. The communities are in the Jalapa Mountain area and are within the “dry corridor”.