Church in Guatemala reaches out to earthquake victims

Guatemala City, Guatemala, Nov 8, 2012 / 12:06 am (CNA).- A relief network operated by the local Catholic Church has launched operations to help the victims of a Nov. 7 earthquake that killed 15 people in Guatemala and destroyed dozens of homes.

President Otto Perez Molina told reporters that 100 people are still missing. He placed the country on high alert and ordered public offices to close temporarily as a precaution against possible aftershocks.

Molina said two thousand soldiers are helping in the rescue effort in the San Marcos region, which was hardest hit by the 7.4 magnitude quake felt in El Salvador, Costa Rica and Mexico.

Speaking to CNA on Nov. 7, Father Antonio Calderon – who serves as the diocesan administrator of San Marcos – said Catholic relief workers have spread throughout to help those affected by the earthquake.

“There are various affected communities such as San Cristobal de Chuco. We are already providing support to victims through CONRED, the diocesan and national offices of Caritas,” he said.  

Food and clothing is being distributed to families in the area, where many of the victims worked in local quarries.

Fr. Calderon said 70 homes in San Marcos were damaged or destroyed and that most were made of combination of wood, clay and stone. The churches in the region, including the Cathedral of San Marcos, suffered minor damage, he added.

Fr. Calderon encouraged Guatemalans, as well as Catholics in other parts of the world, to “join together in prayer” for all those affected.

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