Relocation: the new village of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan
On January 11th, 2000, the people of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan packed up their homes, carried their belongings more than 15 kilometres away, up the hills of Highland Guatemala, and established a new village. Driven by recurrent tremors and the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in November 1998 (during which 2 people died and much of the town was demolished by rampaging rivers and mudslides), the citizens of Ixtahuacan were faced with a grueling mountaintop nicknamed "Alaska" because of the morning frost. Pushed by fear of cracks in their homes and divisions among themselves, the leaders of the village persuaded the villagers to move. The following photo essay is about this difficult decision.