Guatemala declared on Tuesday a “state of public calamity” in the country due to the fires that particularly affect Peten, the birthplace of the Mayan civilization and one of the last lungs of America.
Guatemala declared a state of “calamity” on Tuesday in the country due to the fires that particularly affect Petén, the cradle of the Mayan civilization and one of the last lungs in America, where more than 1,500 hectares were consumed.
The statement of the “state of calamity”, approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, aims to help in emergency work by regulating donations and acquisitions.
The measure affects the entire country, since 20 of the 22 departments are in danger due to the heat, although it is in Petén that the fires are causing more damage.
A total of 16 fires continues to threaten the Maia Biosphere Reserve despite the flames being fought by 350 firefighters, military, forest rangers, volunteers, and three fire-fighting helicopters.
The Maia Biosphere Reserve includes more than two million hectares of lowland and mountainous tropical rainforest, and forms part of the tropical forest that expands to Mexico and Belize, one of the largest extensions of this type in the region.
In this area of damage are “irreversible, unquantifiable” and incalculable, according to the National Council of Protected Areas. The area is known for its high biodiversity, with jaguars, pumas, ocelots, monkeys, freshwater turtles, among other species.
Petén, which has an area of 35,854 square kilometers, is the largest of Guatemala’s 22 departments and due to the fires it has been on a red alert since April 10.