Grant Aid to the Republic of Guatemala

August 11, 2006

  1. The Government of Japan has decided to extend a grant aid of up to a total of 1,733 million yen to the Republic of Guatemala for economic development and disaster reconstruction. Notes to this effect were exchanged on August 11 (Fri) in Guatemala City between Mr. Heisuke Shinomiya, Japanese Ambassador to Guatemala, and Mr. Rosenthal Koenisberger, Minister of Exterior Relations of the Republic of Guatemala.
    • (1) Grant Aid for General Projects
      The Project for the Improvement of Main National Hospitals in Metropolitan Area in Guatemala (Up to 899 million yen)
    • (2) Grant Aid for Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction
      The Project for the Support for the Reconstruction Efforts after Hurricane Stan Disaster (834 million yen)
  2. The Project for the Improvement of Main National Hospitals in Metropolitan Area in Guatemala
    • (1) The Government of Guatemala formulated the National Developmental Plan (Policy Guidelines from 2004 to 2008) and designated as immediate priority fields the improvement of education, social infrastructure, public order, and healthcare and medical services. The Ministry of Health put forward the Healthcare Basic Policy (2004~2008) as a national healthcare plan, establishing 17 priority items including maternal and infant mortality and tuberculosis. It is also working on improving the referral system and modernizing health facilities.
    • (2) In Guatemala, the poor reached about 56% of the population as of 2000, and in recent years, the influx of people from rural areas to the capital has been increasing. Because of this, the capital area has experienced a rapid increase of population from about 1,8 million in 1994 to 2,5 million in 2002 (about 23% of the entire population). Because many people are moving to the capital, a large stratum of impoverished people has been produced in the metropolitan region. The mortality rate of babies and pregnant women, and the number of people suffering from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis remain high. In recent years, the Government of Guatemala has been promoting the development of healthcare and medical services in rural areas, and the lack of such services in the capital area is quite noticeable.
    • (3) There are 43 national hospitals in Guatemala. Even though the two main general hospitals, the Roosevelt Hospital, and San Juan de Dios Hospital, have been providing medical services to citizens including the poor, they do not have enough equipment in the departments of pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.
      There are three hospitals that can accept patients with infectious diseases including tuberculosis. Although San Vicente Hospital, one of the main hospitals, accepts severely ill patients, its facilities and equipment are in particularly decrepit conditions and it does not fulfill the role of a specialized hospital.
    • (4) In these circumstances, the Government of Guatemala has been making efforts to solve the problems facing these three hospitals. However, because the government lacks funds, it has requested from the Government of Japan grant financial aid for The Project for the Improvement of Main National Hospitals in Metropolitan Area in Guatemala.
    • (5) When this plan is implemented, the medical services in the capital area, especially in the poor districts, are expected to be improved.
  3. The Project for the Reconstruction of Main Bridges of National Highway
    • (1) Guatemala sustained damage from various hurricanes and tropical cyclones from September to November 2005. The tropical cyclone Stan, in particular, which attacked Guatemala in October, left damage in 15 departments, mainly in the western, southern and north-western parts of the Republic of Guatemala where many poor indigenous people live. The overall situation of the damage was as follows:
      (a) dead persons: 670, (b) missing persons: 844, (c) disaster-afflicted persons: about 494,000, (d) collapsed houses: 9,000, (e) destroyed houses: about 26,000, (f) damaged paved roads: 1,400 km, (g) destroyed bridges: 32, (h) damaged farmland: 61,000 ha, (i) disaster-afflicted schools: 712 (minor degree) (j) total amount of damage: about 970 million dollars (about 3.4% of Guatemala's GDP in 2004)
    • (2) The disaster by Stan was worse than that of hurricane Mitch in 1998, and the Government of Guatemala under President Oscar Berger Perdomo held a cabinet meeting immediately after the disaster and is now making efforts for reconstruction, such as investing about 970 million quetzal (120 million US dollars) out of the 2005 government budget and similarly about 1.5 billion quetzal (about 190 million US dollars) out of the 2006 government budget as emergency assistance for reconstruction and rehabilitation. The Government of Guatemala also started reconstruction projects from November 2005 with the cooperation of the departmental authorities and announced a rehabilitation program in March 2006. The basic idea that underlies this program gives consideration to the indigenous or socially vulnerable people, taking into account not only post-disaster reconstruction but also the alleviation of problem in the future, including poverty alleviation and human resource development. Under this principle, a reconstruction project was announced for each department.
    • (3) The Government of Guatemala is engaged in the abovementioned endeavors on its own, but as its funding is insufficient, it has requested aid from the international community including Japan.
    • (4) In such a situation, the Government of Guatemala requested from the Government of Japan grant aid for the Project for the Support for the Reconstruction Efforts after Hurricane Stan Disaster in the fields of water supply, agricultural irrigation and bridges.
    • (5) In response, the Government of Japan has decided to utilize the Grant Aid to Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction, introduced from this fiscal year, to support Guatemala.
      By this project, water supply facilities in Quezaltenango city, farming irrigational facilities in San Marcos Department and regional bridges in San Marcos Department will be reconstructed.
(END)


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