BALTIMORE, Nov. 16, 2020 — As Hurricane Iota bears down on Central America, expected to land as a devastating Category 5 storm, a team from Lutheran World Relief in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is already responding to immediate needs of vulnerable families suffering from Hurricane Eta’s impact earlier this month.
“People who lost everything and have nowhere to go sit squarely in the path of another deadly storm,” said Lutheran World Relief’s Matt Hackworth from San Pedro Sula, the second-largest city in Honduras.
Honduras was buffeted by Hurricane Eta, which made landfall on Nov. 4, directly affecting more than 360,000 people. Another 30,000 people were evacuated in neighboring Nicaragua. As Iota heads their way, many families are staying in makeshift shelters in schools, youth centers and municipal buildings, under dire living conditions that include intermittent water and sanitation service. Many others displaced by Eta will ride out Iota in dwellings made of tarps and cardboard.
Eta wiped out cocoa crops in the first week of the harvest season, incurring significant economic losses. Back-to-back hurricanes would add incredible stress to weak public welfare and health systems, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of people living in hunger is expected to double as informal laborers and others either have lost or will lose work.
Lutheran World Relief is on the ground in San Pedro Sula assessing damage and exploring how to most efficiently and immediately help communities in need. With considerable damage to homes and so many displaced, initial assistance includes distribution of critical supplies such as kitchen goods, cleaning supplies and other necessary commodities. Assistance will also be directed to cocoa farmers who lost their homes and cacao trees.
“The situation is dire,” Hackworth said. “But we’re riding out Iota here with everyone else, and we’ll be there reaching out with help where it’s needed.”
HOW TO HELP
Donate online: https://lwr.org/iota20
Donate by Phone: +1 (800) 597.5972
Donate by Mail: Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD 21297-1061
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Founded in 1945, Lutheran World Relief collaborates with local partners to grow inclusive and climate resilient rural economies, reduce poverty, and respond to emergencies and humanitarian crises. Lutheran World Relief works in concert with Corus International, an ensemble of organizations working together in the world’s most fragile settings to deliver the holistic, lasting solutions needed to overcome the interconnected challenges of poverty, health care access and climate change.