On November 2, Hurricane Eta struck Central America. Heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides. In its wake, the hurricane left damaged roads and uninhabitable conditions.

Ready to Respond

During hurricane season, we track many storms. This one was no different. We were prepared to respond. Within 72 hours, we were delivering hygiene kits, handwashing stations, mattresses and blankets to survivors in shelters in Guatemala. Along with the kits, we trained people on COVID-19 prevention. To reach shelters inaccessible by road, we deployed staff by helicopter and on foot. Carrying supplies on their backs, our staff delivered hygiene kits to some of the hardest hit areas.

Medical Teams staff carry hygiene kits to communities cut off by landslides.

An estimated 250,000 people – the equivalent of more than four full football stadiums – were affected by Hurricane Eta in Guatemala. Thousands of people fled to shelters. Thanks to the generosity of people like you, we were able to show up for Guatemalans in need.

One Family’s Devastation

Only two days after the heavy rain started, a massive landslide devastated the community of El Queja. The landslide destroyed many homes. Around 100 people were killed or went missing.  Luisa Chen Cal and her family were some of the survivors.

Luisa lost her husband, home, and pets in the mudslide. Now, she is alone with her 11 children. After so much loss, a small bit of hope came in the form of care provided by Medical Teams. Luisa and her family received hygiene kits with soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair combs and masks. After losing everything, these small comforts meant a lot to Luisa.

Luisa’s family receives hygiene kits from a Medical Teams staff member.

In Search of Hope

In addition to supporting the health needs of her family, Luisa’s suffering was met with hope through the prayers of the Medical Teams staff and the sharing of Psalm 27:10 “Even if my mother and father leave me, the Lord will take me in.”

Luisa found comfort in people praying for her and her family.   It reminded her that she is not alone amid the feelings of pain, worry and grief.

Romeo, a Medical Teams staff member, prays for Luisa’s family.

 “I thought that we were forgotten, but now I found out that God is sending his Son to heal our pain.”

In her grief, Luisa is determined to be there for her children. She is trying to hold onto hope despite the devastation to her family.

Loving Like Jesus, Caring About the Whole Person

In the wake of disasters, it’s critical that we think about the whole person. We not only respond to emergencies with tangible resources, but we also care for the mental, emotional and spiritual state of survivors. We set out to “love like Jesus”, loving the whole person.

While in deep sadness, confusion and fear, Luisa continues to find hope through her faith in God. She clings to her faith while experiencing great suffering because she knows she is wholly seen by a God who suffers with her and brings her peace.

As the response in Guatemala continues, you can be a part of delivering relief and restoring hope to thousands of people. With the support of people like you, Medical Teams remains ready to respond to ease the suffering of people experiencing devastation. 

Send life-saving care to survivors of natural disasters and other crises today.