Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America and one of the most violent countries in the World has recently suffered from two catastrophic hurricanes (Eta & Iota) in two weeks. Life threatening storms hovered for days with heavy rains creating flooding and landslides wiping out entire communities. The last time Honduras suffered a natural disaster of this scale was Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The International Community rushed in with billions in aid, but they’re now focused on the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis, and lack U.S. leadership to mobilize support.
One of the hardest-hit areas was Honduras’ north, the most productive agricultural region. Massive crop losses raising fears of long term food shortages. Widespread flooding has forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. People choosing between overcrowded shelters with newly orphaned children being raped or living on the streets in makeshift tents made out of plastic tarps. It was absolutely heartbreaking to hear one of our young patient’s say “we lost everything and are living on the street.”
Covid-19 is no longer their biggest concern, now it’s finding food to survive and not being one of the victims of starvation. There is a huge shortage of food, water and medicine. Thieves are ransacking homes and businesses. The MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs are charging a “tax” to boats trying to rescue people from flooded neighborhoods. The sanitary conditions are inadequate forcing people to defecate/urinate on the side of the road, offering a breeding ground for spreading disease.
One of Esperanza’s partners, Blanca Castellano, is “on the ground” providing assistance. She and her friends in Siguatepeque made 1,000 tortillas among other food with the intention of delivering the food to hard hit San Pedro Sula. Sadly, she was unable to make it because along the route people were climbing into her car begging for food, and she passed it all out. This won’t stop Blanca, she returned home and started making food for her next delivery.