Earlier this week, Cardinal Ramazzini and the people of the city of Huehuetenango celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patron of the city of Huehuetenango. The celebration was one of many July feasts--a significant time of year for Guatemalans--which are being celebrated in very limited ways due to COVID-19. Those who have traveled to Guatemala know the importance of celebration in the lives of Guatemalans. Celebrations are moments of gratitude and release from the stresses of daily life. Being unable to celebrate in community deepens the sense of loss for communities facing illness, loss of employment, and hunger. Let us continue to pray for the day when we might be able to celebrate together alongside our sisters and brothers in Huehuetenango.
Coronavirus in Guatemala by the Numbers
32939 confirmed cases in Guatemala
26726 active cases
2541 confirmed cases in Region 2 (Western Guatemala including Huehuetenango)
152 confirmed cases in Huehuetenango
Two-Thirds of Guatemalans See Decrease in Income
A recent survey of Guatemalans indicated that 66% of Guatemalans saw a decrease in family income during the coronavirus shutdowns. Of those seeing a decrease in income, the average decrease in income was 43% of where income was before the virus. The decrease was typically due to loss of employment of at least one family member or decrease in earnings from informal economic activity.
The same survey also indicated that those in the lowest income quartile were the most at-risk of contracting the virus due to a need to leave the home to earn money. Seventy-six percent of those in the lowest income quartile reported having to leave the home to work as opposed to around 50% of those in the upper three income quartiles. Without formal employment or qualifying for unemployment subsidies, the people in the lowest quartile must find ways to earn an income to feed their families.
Guatemala continues to work to strike a balance between slowing the pandemic and finding ways for families in need to feed themselves.
Huehuetenango Sees Limited Growth in Confirmed Cases
The rural nature of many communities in Huehuetenango has helped them remain isolated and limited the spread of the virus. There are still 11 communities in Hueuheteanago which have yet to record a confirmed case.
- Todos Santos Cuchumatán
- San Juan Atitán
- San Gaspar Ixil
- San Antonio Huista
- San Rafael La Independencia
- Santa Eulalia
- San Mateo Ixtatán
- San Juan Ixcoy
- San Sebastián Coatán
While this is positive news, many communities connected to Ixim have faced hardships. Fourteen have died across the department. Last week, a 65 year-old man from San Ildefonso Ixtahuacán died from COVID-19. Towns around San Miguel Acatán have closed the roads to Acatán out of concerns for presumptive cases there. Please continue to keep the Diocese and all our partner communities in your prayers.