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Guatemala ETA
USAID is responding to Tropical Storm Eta which caused severe flooding and landslides in Central America, including Guatemala, after it made landfall on November 3, 2020.
Photo by Carlos Alonzo / AFP

Key Developments

After making landfall over northeastern Nicaragua on November 3 as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale, Tropical Depression Eta brought heavy rainfall to Guatemala beginning November 5, affecting more than 311,000 people across 18 departments, according to Guatemala’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED).  Additionally, more than 15,500 people remain in 122 shelters as of November 10, CONRED reports.

In response to Tropical Depression Eta, President of Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei declared a state of calamity in Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, El Progreso, Izabal, Jutiapa, Petén, Quiché, Santa Rosa, and Zacapa departments and requested international support for response efforts. 

On November 6, U.S. Ambassador William W. Popp declared a disaster for the effects of Tropical Depression Eta in Guatemala.  In response, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID/BHA) is providing $120,000 for the distribution of emergency food assistance and relief items to people evacuated to temporary shelters.  USAID/BHA has a small team of disaster experts on the ground in Guatemala, monitoring humanitarian needs and helping to coordinate relief efforts recommend response options in coordination with CONRED, the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.


Guatemala is prone to a variety of natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Since 2006, USAID has responded to eight disaster events in Guatemala. USAID typically works with non-governmental organizations to meet humanitarian needs and complement government relief efforts. In addition to direct disaster assistance, USAID supports ongoing disaster risk reduction activities and capacity building initiatives for disaster response in Guatemala and the larger Latin America and Caribbean region. For example, in 2012, USAID donated urban search-and-rescue (USAR) equipment to CONRED and Guatemalan USAR teams as part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen national response capacity.


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