At 4 in the morning, in the village of Conacaste, in Jocotán, Chiquimula, a pick-up truck had an accident on a dirt road and fell into a ravine, which left a balance of 18 people dead, including three minors and 12 injured.
The news shocked the community and the relatives of the victims who reside in Conacaste Now they seek the necessary help in the face of the tragedy.
Edwin Portillo, father of the Santiago Jocotán Parish, gave an interview to Free Press Y guatevision, where he not only talks about the sorrow of the community and the actions they will take in the face of this situation, but also calls on the population to support those who lost their loved ones.
“We deeply regret this. The actions we have started to do is call for the solidarity of people to support them with economic aid and food as basic grains that the relatives of the victims now need,” says Portillo.
He says that the situation for the Conacaste village is very hard, since the people who died in the incident were moving to collect food aid from an international organization.
“We put the parish as a mediator for financial aid and above all for groceries, because the moment of mourning is coming, and these are very difficult times for people with limited resources,” the priest points out.
When questioned about funeral expenses for the victimsboth Portillo and the spokesman for the Jocotán commune, Carlos Vinicio Ramos, indicated that the mayor’s office, municipality, institutions and voluntary aid will be responsible for the expenses.
“Today in the afternoon relatives have come to ask for help and we support them with the parish’s own resources. And we will continue to see how we are going to help them for the next days of mourning,” says Portillo.
Regarding the conditions in which the people who live in Jocotán live, he stated that it is “an extremely poor municipality“, despite being a commercial zone in the Chortí region.
He mentioned that the problems of migration, both internally and towards the United States or Honduras, the bad weather conditions that affect the harvests and the lack of growth opportunities, have caused that the region is not sustainable viable.
“Due to the weather conditions, it has been able to rain in this dry corridor that is lived in the region, which allows people to have a little cornbecause normally the winter does not leave anything”, he added.
He also pointed out the form of mobilization of people, where he said that the poor condition of the roads and the insecurity of the sector motivates people to transport themselves by means of pick-up trucks. “The roads are very bad, it is very dangerous but people have no other means of transport than this“, says Portillo.
“I met several of them”
Portillo affirmed that he knew several of the people who died in the incident in Jocotán, as well as their families, and said that he recognized one of the victims from a notice that was published with the list of human losses.
“Virginia Ramos-Roque, she was at the top of the list of deceased and he knew her. We were going to do the Eucharist because there is no oratory in the community. And I got together with her and her family as a little community to celebrate that,” he says.
How to help?
Edwin Portillo has published on the official website of the Santiago Jocotán Parish the means by which people can financially support the families of the victims.
It is a monetary account, whose number is:
- 3082031276 from Banco Banrural
The fatalities were transferred to a makeshift morgue in a local school, while authorities carry out the research of the case.
According to preliminary versions, the driver got off the car for unknown reasons and the vehicle got out of control until fall into a ravine of some one hundred meters deep.
Ramón Díaz, mayor of Chiquimula told AFP that people went to the urban center of the municipality to “withdraw a transfer” of “a program they have with the World Food Program (WFP)” of the UN.
He also added to the media that the preliminary version of the accident is that the picop parked on a hill for more passengers to boardbut the vehicle rolled into the ravine.
For its part, the Public Ministry (MP) indicated that it began investigations of the accident and stated that the driver of the vehicle was captured.