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Flood aftermath…

02/11/2011

Friends of Vine have asked what is going on down here.  Well in a couple of words “clean up”.  There are video clips on You tube and other sites (put in Panajachel, October, Guatemala, flood in their search engines).  Interestingly Arab English news service Al Jezeera and CNN’s Latin page have posted some of the best video clips.

In the first 20 days of Oct we had almost 30 inches of rain, some areas were worse.  Landslides were a major problem.  Deaths related to the continual storm – I have heard numbers between 20 to greater than 60.  Several thousand souls were in shelters on higher ground.  We have had 2 weeks of dry weather.  Most of the roads that were mud covered are now kicking up dust.  The road we  traveled to Panajachel with the Vine team in August from Solola to Pana has a large area that dropped off the side of the mountain.

In times like this there is a major up tick in respiratory, fungal and parasite infections.  We had a timely donation from MAP International.  Cindy and I worked rapidly to get the pediatric antibiotics, children’s tylenol and cough syrup to so many of our friends that are called to serve in the hardest hit areas.  All that medicine is gone, taking about 10 days to disperse.  We have some antihypertensive meds left.  Most of the orthopedic splints are out there too.  Thank you to our friends at MAP…. do you have antifungals, more antibiotics and NSAIDS???  MAP is an excellent organization having given over 4 Billion dollars worth of medicines since their founding in 1954.

We are giving out dust masks (also from MAP) and they will be used extensively in the weeks ahead.  Some communities are cut off from major supplies.  Roads and bridges destroyed by landslides in a country without huge reserves financially, large earth moving equipment and materials to respond as we have in the USA.  The Rio San Francisco in Panajachel could be waded across and not get your knees wet every time I have seen it.  An additional 9 to 10 feet of raging water cut her banks taking homes and businesses into the lake.  Now as waters recede you see scavenger/gleaners picking up metal and wood and household items that once were their neighbors goods and homes from upstream.  In some areas the beans and corn had just been harvested but were washed away, or are moldy now due to the wet conditions.  Some farmers went through the unharvested fields and stalk by stalk bent the corn over to keep water from standing in the corn cobs causing them to rot on the vine.  Another hard year for our heavily dependent agricultural communities.

These are not lazy people.  The leaders of government here have plundered the treasury.  Hospital staff and school teachers have not been paid in months.  Some strike on occasions.  But most keep plugging away where national hospitals are reporting they have no aspirin.  Where roads and bridges are gone, foot paths get cut into the hill side.  What was trucked in is now hand carried, balanced on heads, with even the young children working to support the needs of their family.  Families are returning to shacks that are no longer there, wood piles for cooking fires have floated away and food stocks are destroyed.  They will scavenge for the boards and tin that hopefully hung up in the brush close by and start over.

Orphan Resources International our friends and neighbors here I know sent out surplus blankets.  So many ministries are responding.  The United States is good at responding to tragedy.  It is clearly a place where the church should shine.  We are seeing our local Guatemalan churches respond with food collection, etc.

We would love to get another container of medicines before the end of the year, other containers are in the works with medical supplies, wheelchairs and other orthopedic devices.  We are out of crutches, canes and walkers.  We need wound dressing supplies badly.

I don’t have photos as we have been in the warehouse working to get the materials out and into service.  Try these links to a couple of video clips (and here) we posted on our facebook pages about three weeks ago.  We deeply appreciate your prayers in this time.  There is much to do.  It is a time when the physical need seems overwhelming, pray for us to not forget to speak to the eternal need as well.

In Christ

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. donna permalink
    02/11/2011 13:55

    I’m not a monied person and cannot come there, so what can I do to help?

    Like

    • 02/11/2011 14:35

      Donna,
      Thanks you for your interest. That alone is encouraging. Little is much when God is in it…Vine International turns the donated dollar into over 40$ worth of donated medicine and medical supplies. So even small financial donations do great things. Second if you are a believer, we believe your prayer support is very/extremely valuable. We get tired to the core of our beings here (physically because of the work, emotionally we are away from our children and grandchildren) and we believe the prayer support of friends and family are important. Third, collection of medical materials if you are in hospital/clinic, home health, or manufacturing look for ways to collect good materials for us. Let me know if any of this fits your world and I will be glad to discuss how to go further. Thank you for your interest. In Christ Dennis McCutcheon

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