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Providing emergency aid in Honduras

Two workers wearing red cross vests and medical masks assemble metal framing for the health clinic. One gives a thumbs up and the other create a heart symbol with his hands
In November, the Canadian Red Cross sent an emergency health clinic and aid workers to Honduras to provide much-needed health services after Hurricanes Eta and Iota devastated the Central America region. 

Working closely with the Honduran Red Cross and the Honduran Ministry of Health in Honduras, we’ve set up an emergency clinic in La Lima, Honduras, and are now assisting people with their health needs. It’s the first time we’ve sent an emergency clinic abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

You can donate to the Hurricane Eta and Iota relief efforts here.

What happened

Hurricanes leave trail of destruction

In early November, Hurricane Eta, a Category 4 hurricane, and Hurricane Iota, a Category 5 hurricane, struck Central America causing heavy rains, flooding and damage to infrastructure, homes and crops. 

A flooded and damaged street, with powerlines and street signs fallen over

The storms affected 4.5 million people in all Central American countries and caused extensive damage in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.

The emergency has remained largely silent from the media. However, that doesn’t accurately reflect the impact the hurricane has had on the people affected, who are parents, siblings, neighbours and friends.

In Honduras, over 3 million people have been directly affected by the hurricanes, including tens of thousands of people evacuated and in shelters. Some of their most urgent needs include access to clean water, and sanitation and hygiene measures. The hurricanes affected several medical facilities; many lost electricity and were damaged due to severe flooding.

A rescue boat with four rescue workers wearing red cross helmets and life jackets navigate a flooded street. Credit: Honduran Red Cross

Throughout Central America, many of those who are impacted are women and children. Hurricanes Eta and Iota have also heavily affected Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and Miskito communities.

Before the hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic, there was already a need for humanitarian aid in Honduras, with about 1.3 million people needing assistance in the form of food, health, protection, and water and sanitation.

Canadian Red Cross sends health clinic to Honduras

In the wake of the hurricanes, the Canadian Red Cross transported and set up an emergency health clinic in La Lima, providing vital basic healthcare services to those affected by the hurricanes.

A woman wearing a medical mask and red cross vest talks to a group of people

Canadian Red Cross worker Luc Alary is on the ground in Honduras. He says they are surrounded by “scenes of devastation that we rarely see as aid workers”. 

“What we saw was street after street, still flooded. People trying to salvage whatever is left behind.”

The health clinic is providing basic health care and psychosocial support. Aid workers in the health clinic bring a variety of knowledge and skills, including medical, technical and psychosocial support expertise. 

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Many of the Honduran Red Cross workers themselves have been affected by the disaster, such as Isyn, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross for five years.

“Isyn has been working for the last several months driving an ambulance, transporting COVID-19 patients,” says Luc. “For the last few weeks now he’s been doing search and rescue… and he himself has been greatly affected by this disaster, his home is flooded.”

The Red Cross is able to provide vital emergency health work in the wake of Hurricanes Eta and Iota thanks to the generosity of Canadians and support from the Government of Canada.

You can donate to the Hurricane Eta in Central America Fund here.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for updates on the relief efforts in Honduras.

 

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