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Honduras and Central America: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 5

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This situation report is based on information received from, the UN Emergency Technical Team (UNETT) in the affected countries, the Regional Office in Panama, the UNDAC Team in Honduras and the National Hurricane Centre.

HIGHLIGHTS

- A Flash Appeal for Honduras was issued today requesting around USD 17 million to assist the victims of the floods and landslides.

- In Guatemala, approximately 100,000 people are affected in 27 municipalities. The situation is particularly serious in the department of El Peten.

- In Belize, around 11,000 persons are affected by the floods.

SITUATION

1. Tropical Depression No. 16 made landfall in northern Honduras on 16 October and has been slowly crossing over Central America causing heavy rains from northern Costa Rica to south-eastern Mexico. The system affected the countries of Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala with heavy rains which led to flooding and mudslides. A new cold front is moving over the region and is likely to bring moderate rains.

HONDURAS

2. Due to a series of meteorological events in the past days (Tropical Depression 16, low depression and swell), the Government of Honduras declared a state of emergency on 19 October. These events caused rains of diverse intensity in the whole country but mainly in the central and western area. A great number of landslides were registered in the western and central part of the country. The Government has formally requested humanitarian assistance. The cold front will bring cloudy days and some moderate rain in the insular region, especially in the North of Honduras. The precipitation will range between 50 to 60 mm in the next 24 hours. The RED ALERT remains in the Counties of Corquín and Cucuyagua in Copan Department; and Belén Gualcho in Ocotepeque Department; and Cortes Department. YELLOW ALERT will remain in the Central District of Francisco Morazán. GREEN ALERT stays in the Departments of Bay Islands, Atlántida, Colon and Santa Barbara. The rest of the country remains without any type of alert.

3. According to the Permanent Commission for Contingencies (COPECO) latest information, 34 deaths were reported and some 279,972 persons have been affected. Approximately 42,234 persons were evacuated of which 42,800 are in shelters. More than 2,210 houses were destroyed and 11,000 are flooded or damaged. Some 101,000 hectares of crops have been lost. Some 114 out of 298 municipalities are affected or 40% of the municipalities. Public health is an area of concerns even though no outbreaks have been reported. The main health concerns are gastrointestinal diseases and acute respiratory infections. Primary needs include portable latrines, water purification and household hygiene kits. PAHO/WHO reports that 14 potable water systems are damaged. There are currently no severe food security issues, but the next production will be affected. The government is implementing measure to prevent speculation of the food prices. Damage in the transport infrastructure will impact negatively on the commercialization of the coffee production.

4. The COPECO is coordinating relief activities and continues with the distribution of humanitarian aid to all of those affected due to the heavy rains. The Council of Government Ministries has been meeting to discuss and develop a rehabilitation and reconstruction plan. The President of Nicaragua has assigned regions to the various ministries to strengthen coordination between COPECO, departmental and local authorities.

5. Sectoral working groups were activated on 18 October, using the cluster terms of reference. Consultations are on-going with partners, including the NGOs and partners. Inter agency Assessments are on-going in the South, North and West with the participation of the UN system, COPECO and Caritas notably. The result of the assessments will be available this week. Various Sectroral working groups are working using the cluster approach principles: Health (Lead: PAHO/WHO); Water & Sanitation (lead: UNICEF); Education (Lead: UNICEF); Food Security & Nutrition (Lead: FAO), Shelters and NFIs (lead: IOM); Early Recovery (Lead: UNDP); Logistics & Communications (Lead: WFP). The sector working groups are finalizing a CERF application.

6. The Flash Appeal is requesting USD 17 million to urgently assist those affected in food, health, shelter, water and sanitation, education and early recovery for the next six months.

7. The international community has offered assistance to Honduras. Please find attached below a table detailing a list of contribution. WHO is reprogramming regular funds in order to mobilize medical teams and to purchase emergency and general medicines. PAHO/WHO has also mobilized regional experts in water and sanitation, disaster management and the SUMA deployment. Three teams have been sent to the field to carry out an inter-agency assessment in the most affected areas in the North, West and South parts of the country. After a request of the Ministry of Heath, UNFPA has approved an amount of US $50,000 to assist reproductive and maternal health.

8. WFP has assisted so far 15,091 families with a total of 331 MT of food aid. In coordination with COPECO, CODEM (Municipality Emergency Committee) and other partners, WFPcontinues to monitor the situation and carry out assessments to provide assistance to the affected population. WFP has organized missions to the affected areas and needs an additional 2,500 MT of food through the regional PRRO. WFP is also contributing up to USD 142,000 in cash assistance. UNICEF distributed pre-positioned supplies through COPECO and is planning the rehabilitation of the affected water systems and school infrastructure. UNICEF also plans to preposition family hygiene kits, emergency health, education, and cooking kits, as well as blankets and has allocated a USD 120,000 in immediate cash assistance. Mercy Corp is distributing food, blankets and NFIs to families. IOM is dispatching an expert in shelter; MSF is sending a health experts team, while BCPR is deploying an early recovery advisor. FAO, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP are also sending technical personnel, while UNDP has provided USD 150,000 in cash contribution.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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