Friday, January 15, 2021

Guatemalan families mourn death of children as hunger spreads

While some in the U.S. think that wearing a mask to protect others and themselves from Covid-19 is a horrible thing to bear with.

By Sofia Menchu

January 15, 20219:08 AM

Two-year-old Yesmin Anayeli Perez died this week of illnesses linked to malnutrition, the third small child to die from similar causes in an impoverished mountain village in eastern Guatemala within weeks, residents and health officials said.

Residents of the indigenous Mayan village, La Palmilla, and other parts of a region known as the Dry Corridor sunk deeper into poverty last year when economic damage wrought by droughts and two devastating hurricanes was compounded by the coronavirus lockdown.

The situation in La Palmilla is a stark example of the depth of the crisis in Central America, where governments are hoping for a rapid restoration of U.S. aid under incoming president Joe Biden to stem a new migration wave.


Government data show acute malnutrition among the under-fives rose by 80% in Guatemala in 2020 compared to 2019.

The government said the jump was partly due to improved methodology. However, data gathered by Oxfam last year also showed large increases in families facing food shortages, including a four-fold jump in severe shortages in the province around La Palmilla.


The two hurricanes in November wiped out his field of beans, leaving only corn in the ground, and the walls of his mud-block house cracked with the rain, letting the winter chill inside.


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