Guatemala Recovers from Tropical Storm Agatha

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The one - two punch of nature has left Guatemala reeling in its wake.

The eruption of the Pacaya volcano provoked three deaths and thousands of evacuations. Residents of Guatemala City were still sweeping up the volcanic ash when Agatha, the first tropical storm of the season, arrived.

Under torrents of rain, rivers overflowed, bridges collapsed, and thousands were driven out of their homes as the storm passed by.

"The river took down two bridges," said Pahalum villager Rafael Elias. "We are almost totally isolated. There's only communication with Quiché. Twenty homes were destroyed. They lost everything. The municipality sent us to give them at least minimal supplies, and thank God with the help of the government, we've also had food for the people who need it."

In Guatemala City the storm caused an enormous sink-hole, which was estimated to be about 100 feet deep. The hole swallowed up a three-story clothing factory. Both Catholic and Evangelical churches suffered the impact of the storm.

But timely relief came thanks to Christian ministries and organizations. Groups including World Vision and Operation Blessing International immediately began providing emergency relief. Operation Blessing sent teams to the most damaged areas and gave out tons of bottled water, medicine, and other basic supplies.

"We were the first and only Christian group in the area and what we began to do was to give what we had, which is the love of God," said Mario Búcaro of Operation Blessing Guatemala. "We started praying with the people, working with them."

In neighboring Honduras, rain-swollen rivers forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Operation Blessing also delivered truck-loads of relief, ranging from clothing and shoes to medical and food supplies. In the coming days they hope to reach more isolated villages suffering from the devastation of tropical storm Agatha.

Related Link:

Operation Blessing

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Stan Jeter

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CBN News Senior Producer Stan Jeter specializes in Christian news and Latin American coverage.  He has lived and worked for many years in South and Central America, most recently developing the Spanish Christian news program, Mundo Cristiano.  Follow Stan on Twitter @StanJeterNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/StanJeterCBN.