GOAL teams in Honduras are responding to the latest hurricane to hit the country. Thousands were forced to flee their homes after Hurricane Iota made landfall on Wednesday. At least 30 people across Central America are reported to have lost their lives following the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the year.
The hurricane is the latest to hit Honduras in as many weeks after hurricane Eta left scores dead and more than 200,000 people were evacuated from their homes. Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala were the worst affected regions impacted by Eta. Up to 3 million people in Honduras were directly affected.
Communities suffering from severe flooding
The eastern coast of Honduras and the Gracias a Diós region has been hard hit by both hurricanes. Over 400 homes have been destroyed due to strong winds and floods in the area. The cities of San Pedro Sula, La Lima and Choloma are also experiencing severe flooding. In Tegucigalpa, two additional large shelters have opened to host people who have lost their homes. Elsewhere, many riverbanks have burst in the northern areas of La Ceiba.
“Our neighbourhood is completely flooded, the water has risen to the roof of our house. Right now, there’s no light; there’s no drinking water, there’s nothing.” José Benito Juárez, resident of San Pedro Sula, told us.
How GOAL is responding
GOAL responded swiftly following Hurricane Eta, which struck the country on November 6th. GOAL teams are on the ground, responding to the needs of those affected. In Gracias a Dios and Tegucigalpa, GOAL is distributing food aid, hygiene, Covid-19 kits, and shelter kits. GOAL teams are also helping to transport and support to families relocated to safe shelters in the region.
To date, GOAL has distributed food aid and non-food items to over 1,500 people in La Moskitia, in response to both storms. The aid is being provided through the Nordic Development Fund and IDB½Lab funded project, MiPesca.
GOAL teams are also working with Plan International to support around 13,200 women and girls with dignity kits in emergency shelters. Raising disease awareness is central to this work. The programme will support 500 families that have lost all their livelihoods and homes with financial aid.
Local communities coming together
“Our community is completely flooded; we are only able to move through cayuco (small canoes) or by boat. There is no land where we can walk. The flooding has destroyed the fishing sector, the agricultural sector, livestock sector. There’s nothing in the banks of the river; it’s all flooded.
GOAL again has stepped forward and evacuated us. Thank God we had a boat that could carry that amount of people, the Kruta Fishing Company has its transport, the Duri Tara (mother of small ships) … has its boat that was important for us to improve our fishing, but now was used to lives.” Electerio Colomer, President of Kruta Fishing Company, Beneficiary of MiPesca Project.
Electrerio and his crew were able to evacuate more than 100 women, children and people with disabilities from Kruta community.
This crisis is complicated by the challenge of Covid-19. Up to 100,000 positive cases are already confirmed in the country. GOAL is continuing to support local communities and help prevent the spread of the virus. With support from USAID, more than 3,500 people have been reached with Covid-19 training and awareness sessions in emergency shelters.
Heavy rain and flooding hampering recovery
The hurricanes have left a trail of destruction in their path. And heavy rain is set to continue until at least Saturday, increasing the risk of landslides and further flooding.
Hurricane Eta and Iota are the strongest storms to hit Honduras since Hurricane Mitch which killed thousands of people across Central America in 1998. Honduran authorities are still surveying the damage from both hurricanes. It’s feared it could take local communities’ years to recover from the devastation.