Caritas on the ground giving urgent help to Central America following devastating hurricanes

Caritas has launched emergency appeals for Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to help vulnerable people after devastating hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Central America back to back.

Caritas Internationalis’ regional coordinator for Latin America, Fr Francisco Hernández, says, “As always, it is the poorest suffering the most. People who were already vulnerable desperately need shelter, food and help protecting themselves from COVID-19.”

Eta, the most powerful hurricane to hit Central America in the past twenty years, and Iota have affected millions of people, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and causing floods, landslides and power cuts. Dozens of deaths have been reported across the region. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach communities that have been cut off.

International solidarity to rebuild communities

Director of Caritas Honduras Wilfredo Cervantes says, “Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. We don’t have the means to respond to the combined emergencies of back to back hurricanes as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Central America hurricanes

Damage from Hurricane Eta, which hit Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala in early November 2020. This photo shows damage in an indigenous Miskito community called Wawa Bar, the epicenter of Hurricane Eta, on the Caribbean side of Nicaragua.
Photo by Katlyn Holland/Catholic Relief Services

“Over three million people have been affected in Honduras. Many families are sleeping out in the open. We want to take care of their immediate needs in the short term and help them rebuild their homes and lives in the long term. With international solidarity we can start to rebuild our communities.”

Each initial emergency programme in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua will last two months, cost up to a total of €250,000 per country and will respond to vital needs in the three countries for the next two months. This will include providing food, hygiene kits, access to safe drinking water and ensuring people can protect themselves from COVID-19.

Lifeline for the next two months

Caritas Honduras is focusing on providing food for 2500 families (12,500 people), boosting their ability to protect themselves from COVID and helping them repair their houses.

Photos of damage from Hurricane Eta, which hit Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala in early November, 2020.

Photo by Katlyn Holland/Catholic Relief Services

Caritas Guatemala will provide help to 1600 families (8000 people) over the next two months. Much of the country was under flood water that rose to up to 4 metres high. Rural communities and ones living near rivers were particularly hard hit. Caritas says that farming families lost up to 75 percent of their crops in the double disaster.

In Nicaragua, Caritas will help 1000 families (5600 people) over the next two months, focusing on food, hygiene, access to clean drinking water, hand washing and COVID awareness. It will build the capacity of indigenous leaders along the Coco river to spread public health messages among communities so they can protect themselves.

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