Sadness, Grief, and Uncertainty... Millions lost with huge fire in the Terminal Market, Guatemala City

Market vendor viewing the disaster caused by the fire. Photo Credit: Santiago Billy PremGUATEMALA CITY. The largest wholesale market in Central America, with over 4,500 tenants, was largely destroyed by a devastating fire on 25 March 2014, shattering the lives of thousands of self/employed vendors and their families.
It is estimated that about 3,000 people visit it daily since it is possible to find variety of products and is located in the heart of the capital city.

Around 1600 stalls were destroyed by the fire, consuming all the products that were stored in these sections of the market. The disastrous situation becomes tragic when we consider that many of the tenants are now unable to trade, not only lacking vending space but also having to recover their capital and selling products. This is a big blow to the Guatemalan people's economy; many merchants are migrants from rural areas who have sought better opportunities for living and working in the city. Right now they cannot use the facilities and many sellers think this tragedy could have been avoided and even many businesses saved if there had been enough water to stop the initial fire, but the fire fighting operation continued for almost 12 hours.

Authorities are assessing the damage to the infrastructure and will be presenting a reconstruction plan to determine if the market can continue there. The Municipality of Guatemala says they still have to make those decisions. While vendors of La Terminal do not want to move and are asking for support from local authorities and the central government, as well as solidarity from citizens to support them for the prompt resolution of this situation.

StreetNet calls for a democratic process in which the affected vendors are involved in all decisions.

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StreetNet International

StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.

Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.

The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies