Yesterday morning at around 10:35 the ground shook all over the country of Guatemala and parts of Mexico as an earthquake with a magnitude 7.5 was triggered off the coast of Guatemala. While we were sitting in the AMG conference room having a meeting with the city school directors, the building started to sway from side to side. It started gently, but soon you could feel and see the building moving under our feet. It last for over 30 seconds although it felt to last much longer. Initially, we all stayed sitting thinking that it was just a powerful tremor, but as the intensity increased we got up and left the office. When the quake stopped all of us were on our phones calling home and then the projects to see if everyone was okay. We received word back from most of the projects that all was well except for some damage to things that fell off shelves and desks. However, as we left the office yesterday, Orfa who is the AMG director of our camp Canaan in Chimaltenango said that her daughter in law lost several family members as the house they were in collapsed. Please pray for them during this time of grief and for those who were injured!
In the city there was some damage in some of the squatter settlements where houses are built in ravines and the quality of construction is not good. West of the city, which was closer to the epicenter there was a lot more damage reported. So far the death toll is at around 50 and over 20 people are unaccounted for. 150 people were injured and 17,000-20,000 people have been affected. Although this is minor compared to the major quake of 1976 in which around 20,000 people lost their lives, many people (especially the ones who experienced the 1976 quake) have been affected not only materially but also psychologically. There were many incidents of people fainting and needing medical attention due to stress as the quake jolted back terrible memories. Pray for Guatemala and those affected!
As I may have mentioned in a previous blog Guatemala is one of the most natural disaster prone countries in the world. The country is lined with fault lines and quakes are very common; there are numerous active volcanoes and dormant ones that dot the country; hurricanes and tropical storms wreak havoc each year causing widespread damage to homes and infrastructure because of flooding and mudslides. Also conditions in the country vary from lush, tropical coastal plains prone to flooding, to the cold highlands prone to mudslides, to hot, semi-arid prone to drought.
Living in a country prone to natural disasters remind us that this earth is not our home and that we need to be prepared to meet the Lord at any moment. Please pray that during times like this people will turn to the Lord and look to Him for help and comfort and that the church will be ready to receive and disciple those who come seeking for answers and support.
For pictures check out this link.