Oxfam began delivery of humanitarian aid in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala to help those most affected by flooding and strong winds caused by Hurricane Eta, the most devastating weather phenomenon to hit Central America since 1998.
“More than 3 million people have been affected and the number is likely to rise as access to the worst hit areas becomes possible. Thousands of people are still stranded on the roofs of their homes or in elevated areas as rescue operations are very slow due to the lack of equipment,” said Gloria Garcia Parra, Oxfam's Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Central American region has already been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are currently more than 252,000 registered cases of COVID-19 while the drought that has lasted 6 years has led to hunger and malnutrition for people in rural areas.
Gloria Garcia Parra added, "Biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are vital, especially for people who are seeking shelter far from their homes. This disaster is another example of the impact of inequality and climate change in the world."
Working with 11 local partner organizations, Oxfam has already begun distributing food and hygiene kits to those affected by the natural disaster. Oxfam aims to reach around 100,000 people in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala with desperately needed food and hygiene kits.
The disaster has disproportionately impacted women and girls, who already had an immense workload due to the food crisis caused by the drought and the effects of COVID-19.
Notes to the Editor
- The passage of Storm Amanda through Guatemala and El Salvador in May and the Nejapa landslide, also in El Salvador, had already caused significant damage and losses in the region, affecting the most vulnerable families.
- Oxfam is currently working to address the food insecurity caused by the drought in the Central American Dry Corridor, as well as, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with 10 local partner organizations, Oxfam teams are currently identifying the extent of the damage in the most affected areas.
- Oxfam is closely assessing the situation regarding tropical storm Theta, which is likely to hit the eastern part of Central America. Please see more details here: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/cyclones/