Peace and preparation in times of crisis
We are grateful for each of you. We pray for your peace as you stay at home, leave for work, or simply face your worries everyday amidst this global crisis. In this letter we want to share how our team in Guatemala has been adapting and organizing to respond to COVID-19. At this time, AGAPE staff cannot travel to Quiché to conduct regular programming. However, we are adapting to the changing landscape of needs of our community, both in Guatemala City and Quiché.
The status in Guatemala
- The government takes preventive action: Recognizing the limitations of its healthcare infrastructure and low testing capacity, the Guatemalan government has acted proactively to curb transmission, issuing a stay-at-home order that restricts travel, shutting down non-essential business and establishing a curfew.
- Economic outfall in urban areas: As we are seeing in other parts of the world, this resulted in mass layoffs as well as loss of informal work, especially in dense urban areas like Guatemala City. Remote, agricultural regions are currently less impacted.
- Planning for impacts in remote areas: For the rural areas where AGAPE and HOPE’s work is focused, planning now for the likely possibility of these future impacts is critical. While ongoing transmission is primarily documented in urban areas like Guatemala City, a scattering of cases in remote regions indicate the disease could likely reach even the most remote parts of the country where healthcare infrastructure is patchwork and tenuous.
Our response: Taking action in Guatemala City and planning for action in Quiché
Thanks to a generous grant, our team will mobilize immediate relief in the form of food and home goods staples starting May 10, 2020. These will be distributed in partnership with El Camino Church and AGAPE to households in Guatemala City currently facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Simultaneously, AGAPE has already begun outreach to key leaders in Quiché to understand how they think their communities’ needs will develop across the duration of the crisis. While our biblical leadership programs are currently paused due to travel restrictions, these long-standing relationships with pastors and churches continue
How you can help
- Pray: For the health and safety of our staff. For remote communities in Guatemala where roads are closed to slow the spread of disease. For people living in precarious informal settlements on the outskirts of Guatemala City and other urban areas. For President Giammattei, the Guatemalan Congress and public health officials to prioritize the wellbeing of the most vulnerable in relief efforts.
- Support our immediate relief efforts: We have established a fund specifically for COVID-19 relief. As the crisis evolves, we will use these funds to address the immediate economic and health needs of communities where we work.
- Support our staff: Your continued, regular giving enables our staff to continue planning for our leadership and education training programs, even during this moment of pause.