Queen Sofia pays visit to Hurricane Stan victims

19th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 October 2005, PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA - Spain's Queen Sofia is visiting several of the indigenous communities that were hardest hit by Hurricane Stan.

19 October 2005

PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA - Spain's Queen Sofia  is visiting several of the indigenous communities that were hardest hit by Hurricane Stan.

Sofia was accompanied to the devastated towns of Panajachel, San Marcos and Ocos by Spanish secretary of state for international cooperation Leire Pajin, Guatemalan First Lady Wendy de Berger and Guatemalan foreign minister Jorge Briz.

The queen first visited Panajachel, some 180 kilometres (112 miles) from the capital and Guatemala's second most important tourist town, and viewed the damage caused by the torrential rain and landslides that swept away a large section of downtown.

She was met by local authorities, who then accompanied her on her tour of the area, which included a shelter where more than 300 people who lost their homes are currently housed.

Sofia visited with a group of mothers and chatted with about 20 indigenous children. She then proceeded to a humanitarian aid centre established in a local hotel, where the mayor presented her with a huipil - a traditional colourful dress - and a coloured sash.

On the jet in which the queen arrived on Tuesday morning in Guatemala was a load of humanitarian aid to help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the storm, which killed at least 663 people.

Some 850 people are missing in the disaster and more than 3.5 million suffered damage to their property from the rains, flooding and mudslides.

Sofia also travelled to San Marcos province, 250 kilometres (155 miles) west of the capital where she visited the towns of San Juan del Pozo and Ojo de Agua, where more than 20 people died.

The queen was received in the mud-filled streets of Ojo de Agua, by residents who greeted her and her entourage with cries of "we're grateful" and "thank you very much for coming".

Wherever she went, Sofia expressed the solidarity of the Spanish people and government with those who are suffering because of the disaster.

The queen has visited Guatemala four times since September 1977, when she came here with her husband, King Juan Carlos.

On Wednesday, Queen Sofia was heading to El Salvador for a short visit to view damage caused by Stan and by the eruption of the Santa Ana volcano.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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