Tropical Storm Agatha: AIDG responds – Xaquijyá Update [06/12/10]

On Friday June 12th the AIDG team returned to Xaquijyá for further investigation of the community’s water system. We scrambled up and down the mountainside to review one side of the community’s 10 springs, as well as the other sector’s 3 springs and separate water system. The 160 family community is served by two water systems, one that reaches 76 families and the other 74.

By the end of the day we had walked about 12 kilometers and seen all the springs and most of the pipeline. Luckily none of the springs had been wiped out, which bodes well for the repair. The sector of the community that is served by 3 large springs had their pipeline damaged in 3 places – two along the mountainside and one at a stream crossing in the community. Overall it looked to be a fairly straightforward repair job, especially in comparison with the other sector. Sector 2, which we had visited on Tuesday, had their pipe broken in at least 8 places, and the terrain was much harder to work in. We were literally clawing our way up the hillside in some places to get from spring to spring.

This week we will be working with community members to develop a plan to get the people water as quickly as possible. Once we have that plan in place we will work with them to try to create a more tropical storm-resistant water system that can help them to not be in such a dire position the next time the mountain comes down.

The damage from Agatha was not limited just to this community, or just to a few communities. As we were sweating at the top of the mountain after having verified the state of all the springs, our view spread out all over the departments of Sololá and Quiché. Hillside after hillside was scarred with brown lines among the green tries, signs of the landslides that had ripped the mountains apart. Locals say that in this part of the country the damage was worse than during Hurricane Stan. It will take the rural communities of this area a long time to recover, and a lot of outside help will be needed to reconstruct their key infrastructure, most of which was constructed at some point with a lot of help from a government that doesn’t have the resources now to repair them all at once.

Related Posts

Tropical Storm Agatha Emergency Appeal
Tropical Storm Agatha Update: AIDG’s response in Xaquijyá, Guatemala [06/09/10]
Hurricane Stan: One Year On [11/08/06]