When no one else helped, your love reached villages pummeled by Eta and Iota

  • Emily Esworthy
  • Feb 18, 2021

Elsa Marina Amaya was just a child when her entire village of Waller Bordo, Honduras, was destroyed by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The destruction was so complete that everyone carried their few remaining belongings across the river to rebuild the village on higher ground.

Today Elsa is 30, and she has three young daughters of her own — ages 9, 3 and 6 months. When back-to-back storms Eta and Iota swept through her village last fall, they brought a level of devastation that Elsa and her neighbors had hoped they'd never see again.

Even before the storms hit less than two weeks apart in November 2020, Elsa was struggling to make ends meet. In the past, she has provided for her family by working as a cook. But when COVID-19 reached Central America last spring, all the kitchens closed and her income dried up. By the time Eta and Iota arrived, Elsa had been unable to find work for months so she could feed herself and her children.

COVID-19, Eta and Iota have deepened the challenges of poverty

Holding her daughter Rosa Linda in her arms, she reflects on how the past year went from bad to worse – until your love arrived right when it was needed most.

She said her biggest needs are food, diapers, milk, medicine and vitamins for her children — the basics for their health and survival. Elsa isn't alone. While most of the homes in Waller Bordo were spared the worst of the damage, the storms' heavy rains completely wiped out the village's primary livelihoods — corn and palm oil production. Their hard work and hope for the future were literally swept away. Now these families have no idea how they’ll feed their children or pay their bills in the months to come.

Your love reached these families just when they felt most forsaken. In fact, the hygiene supplies and emergency food packs Elsa and her neighbors have received from Lutheran World Relief are the only outside help they've received since the storms.

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Thank you for sending love to families most affected by Eta and Iota

Thousands of families in this region of Honduras are facing hardship and uncertain futures in the wake of these devastating storms. But your love has given these suffering families hope that might keep them from making the dangerous journey north, searching for a better life away from the only homes they've ever known.

Even three months later, food and safe drinking water are in short supply. Some are living in makeshift tents without any means to rebuild their homes; others are living in temporary public shelters or crowding in with friends or family, with no space for social distancing. Coffee and cacao farmers have lost an entire season’s worth of crops. Meanwhile, because the storms damaged the levees that help to contain the river, any amount of rain causes a new bout of flooding — making the recovery process all but impossible.

Thank you for helping these families when they need it most. So far, your love has reached 12,630 people from 2,526 families with food and other critical supplies as they weather the aftermath of disaster.

Your generous gifts are ensuring they have enough food to last the next four to eight weeks, including rice, beans, sugar, milk and salt. You're providing tools and supplies so that families can repair their homes to be safe and habitable again. Your love is protecting them from COVID-19 and other diseases through hygiene supplies and cloth masks.

Thank you for reaching these neighbors with your love when no one else could.

Though the needs are still vast, we're committed to helping these neighbors recover — until your love reaches every neighbor.

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Emily Esworthy, Feb 18, 2021 email