Hurricane Eta Ravages Honduras
Hurricane Eta’s initial strike on the Nicaraguan coast as a category 4 storm was not its lethal blow. In the days after landfall, the hurricane settled into a tropical depression that hovered over Honduras’s valleyed terrain and poured out rain for days, watershedding into rivers that overflowed their banks and engulfed entire communities. In the San Pedro Sula valley, major rivers—Ulua, Chemelecon, Blanco—broke their banks and destroyed thousands of homes, stranding hundreds of thousands of people. Most recent numbers claim nearly 2 million people have been affected by the flooding in Honduras alone. The death toll, currently 57, is expected to rise.
Makeshift refugee camps of displaced people have popped up all over San Pedro Sula—some underneath overpasses, on sidewalks, and even taking over entire lanes of the major highway outside of La Lima, the community hit the hardest by flooding. The government response has been slow, dogged by the strain of the pandemic, but also by lack of action and corruption. No preventative measures had been taken, and an evacuation order wasn’t given until the day after the flooding began. Rumors of embezzlement of aid packages are circulating.
Independent organizations, individual Hondurans, and the U.S. military have assumed the brunt of the relief work, from helicopter and boat rescue work to handing out food and hygiene products to the newly homeless.
The people that lived along these banks were already some of the country’s poorest. During the Covid19 pandemic, their situation worsened. With Hurricane Eta, now everything is gone.
FI name: November 2020