All Hands and Hearts launched a remote assessment immediately after Hurricanes Eta and Iota made landfall in November 2020. Access to a sufficient water supply was highlighted as one of the highest needs in the communities being assessed, thus our team of staff and volunteers began ground up construction of a community center with the associated water, sanitation and hygiene(WaSH) facilities which include latrines and water storage for the community of Sesajal, San Pedro Carchá. We also constructed additional rainwater catchment and storage stations in the nearby community of Seraxqen, Chisec, to increase the communities’ access to water.
In October 2021, we completed our first relief program in Guatemala. We are incredibly pleased to be able to expand our international reach and extend our support to the affected communities of Sesajal and Seraxqen. Starting in January 2022, we will begin our second relief program, focused on the improvement of WaSH systems at 6 schools in the Chisec area.
We are delighted to announce that we have successfully completed our first program in Guatemala with our projects in Seraxgen and Sesajel coming to an end in October 2021. Our gratitude to the team in Guatemala who, with the support of the local community, overcame many challenges posed by extreme weather to successfully finish the projects..
Our work outfitted Seraxqen’s school, health post and community center with metal roofs with guttering, water collection and running water. We installed four water harvesting and storage systems that will provide 81 families safe and reliable access to water. In an area where women and children often had to walk up to two hours each way to collect unclean water, these new water collection and storage systems are a life-changing development that will impact health, safety, livelihoods and futures for generations to come.
In Sesajel, the community centre is complete with hurricane-resilient roofs on the galera and kitchen. Along with two latrines and water systems holding 8 tanks of water, these WaSH facilities will be accessible to the 303 families in the community of Sesajal.
“My name is Ernesto Tiul Coc; I have four positions in this community and region of Sesajal, including being the leader of the Community Development Council and President of the Local Government Unit. Everything that has happened in the two hurricanes last year, it affected us a lot because we have never experienced something like that, so we did not know what to do and how to react to hurricanes. Now we are learning how to protect the lives of the people in our community. And thanks to the All Hands and Hearts organization, a community center is being built that will serve as a shelter if a flood should happen again. As we have already experienced, the community center will also serve for us to receive training.
Thanks for all the support! Sesajal now looks more beautiful, we are very happy and thanks to all the people from different parts of the world who are working here for us” – Ernesto Tiul, local community leader.
“[I’m looking forward to] meeting the community, learning about their story and seeing with our own eyes what’s the impact of our work and how we contribute bringing back their lives before the disaster” – Gabi, DM12 Volunteer
In November 2020, Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota, both Category 4 storms, devastated communities across Central America. First, Hurricane Eta struck on November 3 and slowly moved across northern Nicaragua and into eastern Honduras, before continuing its path into northeastern Guatemala and the Caribbean on November 6. Just 15 miles away from Eta’s landfall, near Haulover, Iota then struck on November 17 and followed a similar path. Both storms led to significant flooding and landslides across the region, impacting millions of people.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was historically active, with Iota bringing the season’s count to 30 named storms, the most ever recorded.
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