Juan de Dios Garcia, email@example.com
Heidi McKinnon, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE IN THE VERAPACES, MAYA ACHÍ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2009 Rabinal, Guatemala- Tragic Landslide near Chixoy Dam in Central Guatemala Kills Dozens. On January 4, 2009, a landslide on Los Chorros Mountain in the central Guatemalan state of Alta Verapaz killed thirty-eight men commuting on foot to work in a nearby coffee plantation. More than four thousand tons of rock and earth fell along a mile long stretch of the only road linking the remote villages near Chicamán, Quiché to San Cristóbal, Alta Verapaz.
To date, sixteen bodies exhumed from the rubble have been identified. Fourteen people are still missing and seven of the injured are still hospitalized. More than three hundred people have been evacuated from the remote villages near the Los Chorros mountain where the accident occurred. Over one hundred-fifty women and children have been affected by this tragedy.
The region surrounding the Los Chorros mountain in Alta Verapaz lies near two geological faults, the Chixoy and Polochic, and is located near the largest hydroelectric dam in the country- Chixoy. Distribution tunnels for Chixoy Dam run through the mountains close the site of the landslide and geologists are testing for possible damage to the tunnels. Chixoy Dam supplies 40% of all electricity within Guatemala.
Victims of last week’s tragedy were all from communities affected by the construction of Chixoy Dam and are members of the Coordinator for the Communities Affected by Chixoy Dam (COCAHICH), which is negotiating with the President of Guatemala for reparations related to the construction of the dam. Members of COCAHICH believe the landslide is directly attributable to the construction of Chixoy Dam, but no conclusive evidence has come from the recent studies of the accident to support their claims.
Currently over 13,000 people are members of the communities displaced by Chixoy, including those who died in the Los Chorros landslide. Vice President Espada toured the region on January 10th and offered government support for the burial of victims.
COCAHICH, and their partner organization, ADIVIMA, report that to date no other international aid agencies are working in the region to assist the families of the deceased and those living in refugee camps.
COCAHICH is accepting donations for the affected families through the Advocacy Project in the US and the ADIVIMA Facebook Cause page.
The Advocacy Project
Posted By Heidi McKinnon
Posted Jan 12th, 2009