Agroamerica together with community leaders from the Southwest Tripoint of Guatemala received a visit from the Executive Secretary of the National Coordinator for the Reduction of Disasters (CONRED)
Guatemala, July 2011. Alejandro Maldonado, the Executive Secretary of CONRED met in Chiquirines, Ocós, San Marcos with leaders from sixteen communities from Retahuleu, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos, together with representatives from Agroamérica.
The purpose of the meeting was to express the needs of these communities to CONRED?s Executive Secretary. Agroamérica has always been concerned with the well-being of the people who live in the vicinity of its operations and for this reason, they organized the meeting between the community leaders and this important governmental organization to negogiate the help the residents need to prepare for the rainy season.
Agroamérica has become the principal source of aid for twenty-one tripoint communities. They have helped the residents organize a local branch of CONRED to coordinate the relief efforts during disaster situations. They have also financed and organized training workshops with CONRED to teach community leaders how to react in emergency situations. Agroamérica invested $47,500.00 to reconstruct the banks of the Ocosito river to prevent flooding, helped community leaders secure governmental loans to dredge the Pacayá river, and helped obtain emergency relief equipment to prepare for this year?s rainy season which has already begun.
Some of the needs expressed by community leaders include the dredging of the Ocosito, Pacayá, and Naranjo rivers. These rivers overflow their banks every rainy season, flooding the local crops and communities. Other needs include first aid kits, flashlights, and portable and stationary battery-powered radios to be able to communicate when the power goes out. Santos Díaz, a leader from Valle Lirio, expressed his appreciation for the visit from Secretary Maldonado and requested that their petitions be recognized and processed.
“We have been abandoned by the Government; we cannot count on any type of help from them; we are anxiously awaiting a response from them for our request to dredge the local rivers. Agroamérica has become our only source of help.” Nancy Reyes, president of COCODE and deputy mayor of El Pomal commented, “We want to be heard and we want help to find a solution to the problem of the Ocosito riverbanks. Agroamérica has already helped us with the repairs, but we still need help to continue to maintain the integrity of the riverbanks because if this situation is allowed to degrade, it will cause great losses to the surrounding residents.”
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