According to data from Guatemala's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAGA) that was gathered up to November 9, the Eta tropical depression damaged 22,155 hectares of crops in 63 municipalities of 9 of the country's departments.
The Directorate for Regional Coordination and Rural Extension stated that the monitoring process continued in the departments of Jutiapa and Santa Rosa. Alta Verapaz registered damages in 16 municipalities, Peten and Quiche, in nine municipalities each; there were damages in eight municipalities of Huehuetenango, in seven municipalities of Chiquimula, five of Izabal, four of Zacapa, four of El Progreso, and one municipality of Jalapa. The storm affected banana, plantain, cassava, lemon, potato, güisquil, and different types of vegetables, among many other crops.
Oxfam's humanitarian coordinator, Ivan Aguilar, said a rapid assessment had been carried out in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Peten, and Quiche. "There are areas where we can't assess the damages in detail because of the difficult access conditions and the urgency of having data. Thus, we can only estimate the percentage of damage in the communities' plantations based on our consultations with community leaders," he said.
According to the president of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations (CACIF), Nils Leporowski, they have received reports of large losses in banana plantations and other crops, but union members are still assessing the situation. This will have an impact on the economy in the short and medium-term, Leporowski said.
Food insecurity is expected to increase
Oxfam Guatemala warned about the increase in food insecurity in the country, due to the damage caused by Eta in corn and bean crops. “This will deteriorate the food situation, even in areas where the situation was less serious. This will translate into an increase in the population living in poverty and extreme poverty,” the organization stated.