IUCN supports victims of the November 7, 2012 earthquake

15 December 2012 | News story

IUCN supports victims of the November 7, 2012 earthquake, working through the water and sanitation commission of the Emergency Operations Center of San Marcos, Guatemala

Article 22 of the law creating the National Coordinating Office for Disaster Reduction (Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres–CONRED) establishes creation of the Emergency Operations Center charged with ensuring the effective participation of CONRED members, coordinating offices and population in general at times of maximum disaster alert. In the department of San Marcos, IUCN supported post-quake relief efforts through the water and sanitation commission comprised of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Institute of Municipal Promotion, National Forests Institute and the Associated Municipalities of Naranjo River Basin.

San Marcos, Guatemala, November 2012 – On November 7, 2012, at 16:35:46 UTC (10:35:46 local time), a quake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale shook the region located south of Champerico City, Guatemala. The epicenter was located at 13.977°N latitude and 91.876°W longitude at a depth of approximately 24 km. In the aftermath, 48 people were dead and 150 wounded, according to the official numbers released by President Otto Pérez Molina after his tour of San Marcos, the zone most affected by the disaster. Electrical, drinking water and telecommunications services were interrupted.

The Emergency Operations Center now active functions as a specialized center of information and coordination with the ministerial departments, agencies or other dependencies, and institutions and NGOs present in the area that attend emergencies according to their particular functions.

IUCN forms part of the Center’s water and sanitation commission responsible for coordinating response actions to ensure the quantity, quality and continuity of water supplied to the population.

In San Marcos alone, 13,706 homes suffered considerable damage, affecting 63,485 people. Of these, 31 were reported killed and 161 hurt. By November 20, only 757 of the 1253 homes identified as uninhabitable and severely damaged had been demolished.

Several basic services were interrupted in the quake’s aftermath, primarily water due to the collapse of conveyance and distribution pipes at several sites in the San Marcos and San Pedro Sacatepéquez municipalities. In response, the water and sanitation commission deployed immediate delivery of 1,011,092 liters of bottled water, arranged for repairs at 99 points in the networks of 69 damaged systems and ensured that water was available at shelters. To ensure the safety of this water, IUCN participated in the delivery of ten, 60-liter ecofilters donated by the company Ecofiltro S.A. through the Facebook page for San Marcos, Guatemala.

Fifty-two shelters were set up in 15 municipalities to attend the 5332 people in 1573 families required to abandon damaged homes. This is where IUCN joined in the relief efforts, assisting with delivery of water and other provisions to the various shelters in the zone.

As of December, 15 shelters continue operating in the head town of the San Marcos municipality alone, occupied by some 850 people belonging to 160 families. The Guatemalan government is now implementing a program for construction and reconstruction of basic housing.

For more information contact:

Ottoniel Rivera Mazariegos
Technical officer of the IUCN Livelihoods and Climate Change Unit for San Marcos, Guatemala
E-mail: ottoniel.rivera@iucn.org
IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica and Caribbean Initiative
Tel: 00502-5510-5890 and 00502-7760-4294