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Friday 07 December 2012

Shelter and hope among Guatemala's rubble
Shelter and hope among Guatemala's rubble Marcos, Johanna and baby Xaviera in their ShelterBox tent, November 2012.

Marcos Coronado is in his early forties and is a laborer. He has been with his wife, Johanna Guzman, for ten years. They have three children; Marcus Jr. is ten and Yorlene is seven. The family had been living happily together in San Marcos in Guatemala's Esquipulas Pala Gorda when a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of the Central American country destroying their livelihoods in seconds. Johanna had given birth to a baby girl ten days before.

The Coronado family is one of hundreds of families in San Marcos whose lives have been rocked by the disaster on November 7. As the quake hit, their home was quickly reduced to rubble along with more than 1,200 others in the surrounding area. Many more have been damaged and over 1,250 houses have been deemed unsuitable for living. Although thousands of people have taken refuge in official shelters, many still live in fear of additional aftershocks and collapses.

What was left of the Coronado family home, November 2012.

"We were living in a church in San Marcos when we met Jen and Dan from ShelterBox," said Marcos. "I beamed when they told us they were going to be giving us a ShelterBox."

Response team members Jen Kormendy (CA) and Dan Huisman (CA) were the first team on the ground. They immediately assessed the need with help from Guatemalan non-governmental organization Mayan Families, local Rotarians and support workers from the local municipality. Within 48 hours, ShelterBoxes were being distributed to families in need, including Marcos and his family.

The Coronado family from left to right: Yorlene, Marcus Jr., Marcus, Johanna, November 2012.

"My house has been destroyed but I still have so much to be thankful for," commented Marcos. "None of my family have been injured and my wife was recently blessed with a new child. We are safe and have a life to rebuild which are two reasons to count our blessings, especially when many others have not been so lucky.

"To show ShelterBox our appreciation, we wanted Jen and Dan to help us choose a name for our baby. We came to Xaviera Alejandra. Xaviera means a bright new home."
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