Devastated Honduras Faces More Devastation

Only two weeks after the devastation of Hurricane Eta, Honduras has been hit by yet another massive tropical storm—Hurricane Iota, a category 5 cyclone that plowed into Central America early this week. Eta hit Nicaragua and Honduras at the beginning of the month, bringing heavy rains that caused rivers and streams to overflow along the Caribbean coast. In Honduras, the most impacted area was the Sula Valley, home to several large cities, including San Pedro Sula and Choloma. There, the storm raged for three days, destroying crops, roads, and homes, and leaving thousands of Hondurans—already in crisis due to the economic impacts of the pandemic—out in the streets. Many have lost everything, the little they owned washed away by the raging floodwaters that continue to inundate neighborhoods and communities across the region. In Honduras, Eta caused the deaths of more than 60 people. The number of deaths from Hurricane Iota, and from the subsequent impacts of both storms, remain unknown. Those who survived the first storm spent the following weeks trying to find shelter, searching through the mud for anything that might serve as cover or clothing. In the more densely populated areas of the city, like the Rivera Hernández sector, thousands have been left without anywhere to shelter, taking to the streets and highways to improvise makeshift shacks with whatever they can find. Some have stayed in their neighborhoods, unable or unwilling to leave what they once called home, surviving amid exceptionally unhealthy conditions: pools of dirty water, mud, dead animals. The lack of state support is obvious, and many people have survived without anyone offering them so much as a tarp or piece of bread. One disaster eclipsed by another: at the moment, the storms and floods have overshadowed the pandemic. Many have even forgotten to wear masks as they attempt to survive. *Translated by Max Granger.