A mere 13 days after Hurricane Eta, another powerful hurricane, Iota, lashed the western coast of Nicaragua and Honduras in the late hours of Monday, November 16. By the time Iota made landfall, it had reached the level of a Category 4 hurricane. And like Eta, Iota left a trail of destruction and heartbreak throughout the Central American region.
Even before Iota, communities were struggling to recover from Eta. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported Eta destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and affected over 3 million people, many in remote communities located in the poorest areas of Latin America. Men, women and children were left homeless while churches, schools and any other stable structure became temporary shelters. But before any real effort could be made to start the rebuilding process, the region was warned to brace for Iota.
With the ground already heavily saturated by Eta, when Iota hit the land quickly succumbed to mudslides and flash flooding. And, as rivers and creeks overflowed, roadways became fast-moving waterways that carried away the debris of fallen trees and destroyed homes. Reports out of Honduras confirmed that communities where World Renew works were affected and evacuations were taking place.
“Out of concern for the safety of those who live in the World Renew community of Laure, families were evacuated to safer terrain,” said Rolando Pinzon, World Renew staff member in Honduras. “The situation in other communities where we work is being monitored as the danger from flash flooding and mudslides is very real.”
The back-to-back hurricanes have already caused so much devastation, but the danger isn’t over. Even as Iota lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm, the continuing torrential rains threaten to cause more flooding and mudslides. Many of those affected by the flooding are subsistence farmers whose crops, their only source of income, have been washed away — they need food. Clean drinking water is difficult to find. There are more people seeking out the already overcrowded shelters. And, the looming threat of COVID-19 continues.
“The current situation in Honduras and the entire region is critical and our people are hurting. We have been grappling with the effects of COVID-19 and now together we must endure the heartbreak and loss that come with these two hurricanes. Pray for us,” shared Rolando Pinzon.
The people of Latin America need our support and our prayers to weather the immediate hardships and the difficult rebuilding process ahead. We pray that God will bless the people affected by the hurricanes with courage as they move forward. We pray the rain and flooding will soon end and the people in shelters will stay healthy and COVID-free.
Please join us in praying for the people of Honduras, Nicaragua, and throughout the region:
Heavenly Father, please provide comfort and support to all those who have lost loved ones. We also pray for the safety of all our onground partners who work with our Latin American team. We thank God for blessing them with the resilience they need as they deliver essential supplies and ensure that displaced people have shelter.
World Renew is continuing to respond by providing food, shelter items, and hygiene kits for families throughout Latin America affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Your generous donation will be matched 1:1 through our International Disaster Response fund, up to $25,000 USD.