Wildfires Lead to State of Emergency in Guatemala
Guatemala, Apr 19 (Prensa Latina) The state of emergency, from today on, is in force in Guatemala to facilitate the control and extinction of forest fires, protect communities threatened by them and channel the budget necessary to face the emergency.
The measure, announced yesterday after a meeting of the Cabinet of Government, will be in force for the next 30 days to address the emergencies arising from the more than 500 fire hazards spread on wooden surfaces in 20 of the 22 departments of the country.
According to the decree, the Ministry of Finance will distribute a fund of 200 million quetzales (27 million dollars) for purchases related to the maintenance of helicopters, vehicles, equipment and contracting firefighters for the work of extinction, among others.
Since October 2016, 513 forest fires have occurred in Guatemala, which devastated some 5,800 hectares of forests in different departments, except in the Izabal Caribbean and in Retalhuleu, to the southwest, the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) reported.
According to the executive secretary of the institution, Sergio Cabañas, criminal hands caused 90 percent of the fires unleashed this season, 21 of which remain active.
The most alarming situation is concentrated in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, in the northern department of Petén, where 18 fires are still active and only five were controlled.
In that part of the territory, considered one of the last lungs of Latin America and recognized for its archaeological richness, associated with the Mayan antiquity in the region, the fire already consumed 1,500 hectares of forests.
It also impacted the national parks of Laguna del Tigre, Sierra de Lacandón, Triángulo de Candelaria in the Multiple Use Zone and other protected areas.
In view of the seriousness of the case, both the Government of Mexico and the Government of Honduras came to the aid of their Guatemalan counterpart with specialized helicopters and this was recognized by the authorities of this country on different occasions.
|By the minute||Most read|