Guatemala (MNN) — Tropical depression "12-E" has slammed Central America with heavy rains and is responsible for at least 13 deaths in Guatemala already.
President Alvaro Colom reports that at least four of those deaths were a result of electrocution. Others drowned, or were caught in mudslides.
In surrounding nations, many more have lost their lives as a result of the weather. At least 23 total have been killed, according to reports.
An Orphan Outreach short-term mission team is stuck in the midst of the storm.
All members are safe, but their work and travel have been impacted. The team is near some of the hardest-hit areas.
Trip leader Robin Tompkins says, "We have heard that in neighboring villages, eight people have lost their lives in the last 24 hours."
The team is in Guatemala for the week, conducting medical clinics and Vacation Bible School programs. Unfortunately, notes Tompkins, the rains got so bad that people stopped coming to the clinics.
"[The storm] has caused changes in schedule. In fact, today was our last day at clinic in Chickmuk, and we had a total of 12 people as opposed to 125 the last two days," says Tompkins.
The team was able to help nearly 275 people with medical needs, but they were hoping to help more. As it happens, they may have that opportunity: a local hospital has asked them to assist with emergency efforts if needed.
The Orphan Outreach team has encountered other problems regarding travel. "The rain has stopped, but the roads are really interesting. There are puddles everywhere," says Tompkins. "You just don't know if roads are going to be washed away or not."
The team's plans continue to change as a result, but they hope to wrap up their trip on Friday according to schedule, provided they aren't called upon to help at the hospital.
At this point, the team simply asks for prayer. "Pray for safety for all of us, and pray that we can also be a witness to the people here as we are side-by-side with them dealing with whatever may come."