On 7 November 2012 at 10:35 am local time, the southwestern region of Guatemala was impacted by a strong earthquake that provoked fatalities and losses. The 7.4 magnitude earthquake had its epicenter 35 kilometers south of the Port of Champerico in the Retalhuleu Department. The National Coordinating Agency for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala (CONRED) conducted a damage and needs assessment and confirmed that most damages took place in the highlands. CONRED indicated that the effects of the earthquake were most felt in communities in San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quiche, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapan and Solola Departments. In its bulletin number 2943 of 8 November, CONRED indicated that 52 people were killed, 14 injured and 22 missing. The earthquake also damaged severely more than 500 houses. In addition, the institution commented that 20 temporary shelters have been opened in communities in Quiche, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos; providing shelter to 762 persons thus far.
On 8 November 2012 the President of the Republic of Guatemala, Mr. Otto Perez Molina, declared a State of Public Calamity in San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Quiche and Huehuetenango. In addition and as a way to support those affected, the government, through CONRED, mobilized more than 50 tons of humanitarian assistance to the areas affected by this earthquake.
The Executive Secretariat of CONRED contacted UN-SPIDER to request the activation of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, which was subsequently activated by the Argentina Civil Protection Agency (SIFEM) on behalf of CONRED on 8 November 2012. More information is available on the Charter website.
In its bulletin number 2955 dated 12 November 2012, CONRED updated its reports of damages, indicating that more than 2,600 houses suffered severe damage, more than 3,300 houses experienced moderate damages and nearly 2,900 houses displayed slight damage. In addition, CONRED also reported that 61 temporary shelters were providing support to those affected.