LatinNews Daily - 13 January 2021

In brief: Guatemala tallies costs of hurricane damages

* Guatemala’s presidential planning secretariat (Segeplan) has put the cost of damage, losses and additional costs caused by the recent hurricanes 'Eta' and 'Iota' at Q6.0bn (US$770m). The hurricanes produced the evacuation of 311,317 people and particularly affected the departments of Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Quiché, Huehuetenango, Petén, Zacapa and Chiquimula. Segeplan deputy secretary, Stuard Villatoro, told reporters that the social sector (housing, health, and education) was most affected, accounting for 48% of damages, followed by productive sectors (agriculture, agroindustry, tourism, and trade – 31%); infrastructure  (15%); and the environment (7%). Segeplan said that as regards the scenarios regarding GDP growth prior to and after Eta and Iota, between 2018 and 2021, the impact of the hurricanes was expected to result in an additional 0.1% decline. The hurricanes hit as the country was already suffering the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Last week Guatemala’s economy ministry forecast that GDP shrank 2% in 2020 – although this was less than the 3.5% contraction forecast in March 2020.

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