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Guatemala: ICRC helps the Guatemalan Red Cross restore contact between family members

02-11-2005 News Release

Following the devastation wrought by hurricane Stan when it struck Guatemala, the ICRC has been helping the Guatemalan Red Cross assess needs and set up a programme to re-establish family links.

According to official figures, the mudslides left 271 people dead and 691 missing in the village of Panabaj near Santiago de Atitlán and 264 people dead and 123 missing in the department of San Marcos. Despite the scant success so far in locating the bodies, in Tacaná Cuá and Panabaj the survivors are continuing their search in the hope of giving their loved ones a proper burial.
The Guatemalan government has declared the villages of Cuá, in the department of San Marcos, and Panabaj, in the department of Solalá, high-risk areas, as many bodies buried under the mud have still not been found.
With support from the ICRC, the Guatemalan Red Cross has stepped up its tracing activities, both at headquarters and at its branches in San Marcos, Tecun Uman and Coatepeque. It has set up a special phone line, with Red Cross volunteers handling enquiries from people who have lost touch with their relatives.
The ICRC, through its ongoing cooperation programme with the National Society, is providing the tracing office with communication equipment, enabling evacuated families to call their relatives outside the affected areas.