Guatemala – Strong Winds, Floods and Landslide Affect Over 10,000

Severe weather in Guatemala from 21 to 24 May 2021 affected over 10,000 people and damaged more than 200 homes across the departments of Baja Verapaz, Izabal, Petén, Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Sololá and Suchitepéquez, disaster officials said.

Flash Floods in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, May 2021. Photo: CONRED

According to reports from the country’s disaster agency CONRED, severe weather including heavy rain, landslides, flash floods, coastal flooding and strong winds, affected a total of 10,571 people, displaced 483, injured 1 person and damaged 217 homes.

Heavy rain on 22 May caused flooding and mudflows in the department of Quetzaltenango, leaving a total of 1,300 affected, 300 people evacuated and 50 homes damaged. Videos shared on Social Media showed dramatic images of flood waters flowing through streets in Almolonga municipality. Quetzaltenango department had seen heavy rain and flooding the previous week when 235 people were affected, mostly in San Miguel Sigüilá, 15 to 16 May.

In Izabal Department, heavy rain on 22 May caused flooding in Livingston municipality leaving around 30 homes damaged. Also on 22 May, rains and strong winds damaged 8 homes in San Antonio Suchitepéquez in Suchitepéquez Department. Wind damage was reported in Ayutla, San Marcos Department on 23 May.

Meanwhile landslides triggered by rainfall blocked roads in in Purulhá, Baja Verapaz Department, and in Concepción, Sololá Department, where 400 vehicles had to re-route.

The recent spate of severe weather in the country began on 21 May when strong winds, heavy rain and flash flooding were reported in Petén department. In San Francisco municipality, 36 homes were damaged and 216 people by floods, while strong winds in San Benito municipality damaged 89 homes, affecting 445 people.

Also on 21 May rough seas and high waves caused coastal flooding in Las Lisas, Chiquimulilla, Santa Rosa Department, damaging 2 homes and affecting 18 people. Previously a landslide after heavy rain on 14 May buried a road Oratorio municipality, affecting around 300 people.

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