The China Post (Link) (September 11, 2009)
Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom has declared a "public calamity" from drought and famine that have claimed more than 460 lives since the start of the year.
"I have decided to declare a state of public calamity throughout the country," Colom declared in a nationally-broadcast address Tuesday.
"This will allow us to have access to international aid resources and to mobilize resources within our budget with greater ease," the Guatemalan leader said.
The country's health minister said 462 people have died, including 54 children.
Most of the deaths occurred in the impoverished northern section of Guatemala bordering Mexico, where more than half of the 13 million inhabitants in the region subsist below the poverty line.