World Bulletin / News Desk
The dried-out oyster shells lie on a landscape parched and cracked by the sun.
This is what is left of Lake Atescatempa, once a vast blue-green body of water in southwestern Guatemala.
Now the lake is dying, a conspicuous victim of the climate change that is projected to profoundly and irreversibly affect Central America.
"We have no more money coming in, nowhere to work. Our hopes for eating fish or supporting our families, that came from the lake," explained Juan Guerra, a 56-year-old who has lived his whole life by the lake.
Today however the lake's shore is dotted with abandoned boats left high and dry.
Wilman Estrada, an unemployed 17-year-old wearing jeans and a T-shirt who for the past nine years lived off fishing here, sat by one of the last puddles.
"It makes you want to cry," he said, casting a despondent gaze at the rainless sky.
Other locals said they began noticing water levels starting to shrink three years ago.
And the weather forecast for Central America offers no relief.
From July, El Nino -- the irregular weather system that raises the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and causes droughts in some regions -- could return.
"Climate change is really affecting the lives and future of these countries and those of our children in Central America," said Hector Aguirre, coordinator of Mancomunidad Trinacional, a group representing towns and villages around the junction of the borders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
The "Dry Corridor," a zone that runs along the Pacific coast from Guatemala to Panama, felt the brunt of the last burst of El Nino.
In 2016, the weather phenomenon left 3.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Crop production from vulnerable small growers shrank badly.
"El Nino, bolstered by climate change, has made the Dry Corridor one of the most vulnerable areas on the planet," Aguirre said.
His group has tried to mitigate the problem by training more than 2,000 farmers in how to diversify their crops, with the aim of guaranteeing food security.
But malnutrition is already evident in some places, as in the village of La Ceiba Taquezal, in eastern Guatemala, where 114 families from the Ch'orti' people of the indigenous Maya population have long depended on coffee-growing to survive.
Four years ago, a fungus called coffee rust devastated their coffee plantations, and with it their revenues. Hunger soon set in, most noticeably among children.
With help from the Mancomunidad Trinacional and European Union financing, the families were given rations of flour, rice, beans and oil. Nutritionists gave advice on how to improve the quality of their diet by adding tomatoes, herbs and various local plants.
"With the dishes we make from beans, rice and plants, we have managed to see the children starting to put on weight," said Marina Aldana, a 36-year-old mother of eight.
But Aguirre noted that "these malnutrition problems are worse in indigenous communities for one simple reason: they are not a priority for the governments."
Eggs tainted by the insecticide mostly originate from farms in those two countries but have since been found in 45 nations worldwide, the European health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitisa said last week.
The UN says cholera is a major public health problem in the country with millions of cases registered every year. Last year, the disease claimed 817 lives there, according to the WHO.
The ministerial meeting will include representatives from some 30 countries, according to Canada's minister of environment and climate change, Catherine McKenna.
Cholera is endemic in Nigeria, with a rise in cases during rainy season from April to September, says disease control center
Police officers tested positive for cholera after eating infected food; health minister blames food workers
"Up to September 1, 14 deaths have been reported," the health ministry said in a statement, adding that "the total number of suspected cholera cases stands at 186."
Pharmaceutical company says treatment has more than 80 percent success rate for form of leukemia
Federal agency orders StemImmune to stop injecting vaccine into tumors of cancer patients
565,041 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in the country since April 27
Unknown health risks include cancer, respiratory diseases, birth defects and reduced cognition
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock's tests clear eggs, official says
Laboratory tests conducted to ascertain exact cause of deaths in north central Kogi state, health official says
Health official decries lack of funds to fight malaria, appeals for donations to help fight disease
Surge in heroin use, other opioids seen as main reason for increased deaths
A separate 40-year-old male was returned to the zoo in Rajshahi where there are only females.
Millions of eggs have been pulled from supermarket shelves across Europe and dozens of poultry farms closed since the discovery of fipronil, which can be harmful to humans, was made public on August 1.