Direct Relief’s healthcare provider partners are assessing the situation after a massive 7.4-magnitude earthquake centered in Champerico, Guatemala, about 100 miles from Guatemala City.
“The epicenter was near the coast, but it was felt all over Guatemala, a grade 7.4, we hope to God that it does not recur,” reported Erika Orozco of Caritas de Guatemala in an email yesterday.
The current death toll reported is 52, however, the number is expected to rise as aftershocks continue and rescue crews work through the rubble. Over 700 people are in shelters and many more are without water and electricity.
Association of Health Promoters, located near the damaged mountain towns of San Marcos and San Pedro Sacatepéquez, reported that staff is assessing the situation and determining need for aid. Dr. Jane Buellesbach expressed concern by phone that the hospital is “poorly equipped and staffed and ill prepared to take on large numbers of injured people.”
Longtime Guatemalan partner God’s Child Project, located in Antigua, reports that they are not currently responding but are on standby if the government requests assistance from the local NGO community. A hurricane preparedness module has been pre-positioned with God’s Child Project, containing enough medicine and medical supplies to treat up to 5,000 people if needed, and available to other partners in Guatemala who may be responding.
Direct Relief stands ready to airfreight additional medicine and medical supplies to Guatemala if requested.