This report is produced by OCHA in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 6 to 9 November 2020. The next report will be issued on or around 12 November
• The already grave consequences of the convergence of Eta’s impact, COVID-19 and pre-existing vulnerabilities could be exacerbated by growing protection risks, worsening food insecurity and the threat of vector-borne disease in Eta’s aftermath.
• A total of 153.3 thousand hectares of damaged or lost crops in Honduras will devastate rural livelihoods, while forecast rains in Guatemala may bring irreparable damages to staple crops, threatening a rapid deterioration of the food security situation and a spike in malnutrition among vulnerable children in both countries.
• More than 37 thousand Hondurans in shelters are faced with urgent humanitarian needs and growing health risks, as shelters lack sufficient PPE as well as water and sanitation services to prevent COVID-19 in the 248 shelters activated across the country
2.5M+ People affected in Central America
1.8M People affected in Honduras
311.3K People affected in Guatemala
37.6K People sheltered in Honduras
9.8K People sheltered in Guatemala
Eta is currently north-west of Cuba where it is still causing rains en route to the United States’ southern coastlines. Cuba does not report any major impacts. With Eta set to run its course, governments and humanitarian partners are now devoting the full range of their resources and capacities to responding to the needs of millions of people across Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador contending with the convergence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Eta’s impact and pre-existing vulnerabilities. Teams on the ground are already relaying information indicating critical needs in Shelter, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Food Security and Protection despite facing access and logistics challenges over blocked roads and cut off communities.
Shelter needs, in particular, are creating a host of concerns in these countries. In Nicaragua, people are still unable to return to their homes given the severe damage or loss to their homes. Health partners in Honduras and Guatemala are expressing concern over COVID-19 mitigation and prevention capacities and the need for hygiene kits and personal protective equipment, as well as limited WASH access and services. There is also concern over underreporting amid growing populations of people in shelters.
Given the scale of the damages and the impact that have affected some 1.8 million people, Honduras is seeing a heightened level of humanitarian activity from the Government and from partners. Some 745 communities across 155 municipalities in Honduras report varying degrees of damage. Communications are cut off to more than 95,000 people in 68 communities in the western Honduran department of Copán alone. Additionally, several local humanitarian response organizations, volunteers and community leaders are themselves among the affected, greatly limiting operational capacities in some flood-affected areas.
Response priorities in Honduras are focusing on operations along vulnerable Atlantic coast communities, including mapping shelter conditions and ongoing joint evaluations to support Government response. More than 50,000 first response system members and volunteers are participating response in Honduras. A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) will deploy to Honduras in the coming days to help Government and communities’ needs assessment and response coordination efforts.
Guatemala also continues to deal with the fallout from Eta in 18 of its 22 departments, mostly concentrated in Izabal (80,800 affected people), Alta Verapaz (78,000 affected people), Huehuetenango (25,200 affected people), Chiquimula (19,240 affected people), Quiché (14,100 affected people) and Petén (10,300 affected people). Humanitarian teams in Guatemala continue to support evaluations of health centres and delivering food supplies to cut off communities. There is particular concern over extensive damages to agriculture, livestock and rural livelihoods, which stand to worsen existing food insecurity. Partners in Guatemala are identifying response capacities and priorities to support the Government’s identified needs to then carry out multi-sector evaluations.
Nicaragua, who first bore the brunt of Eta’s impact while it was still a Category 4 storm, issued a preliminary report indicating 1,890 destroyed homes, 8,000 damaged homes, 16 damaged health centres and various damaged roads and bridges. Eta saw more than 47,000 seek shelter at 325 centres. Authorities estimate material damages to be about US$172 million, while immediate restoration costs are at about US$36.4 million. The Government report indicates they are prioritizing care for families in shelter, food insecure families, repairs for homes, educational centres and health centres.
The broad reach and range of Eta’s rains also caused significant impacts in Panama, Costa Rica, Belize and southeastern Mexico, which also saw the combined effects of a passing cold front. Panama, who reports 3,330 affected people, are still dealing with search and rescue operations and damage to infrastructure in the west, prompting the Government to allocate US$100 million to cover needs related to Eta. Costa Rica reports 325,000 people affected either directly or indirectly and still maintain several alerts, mostly along its Pacific coasts. Belize reports major flooding conditions in the Cayo, Belize, Stann Creek and Toledo districts that are still limiting full damage assessments; preliminary estimates cite 50,000-60,000 people affected along riverside communities. Mexican authorities report that Eta’s interaction with a cold front in southern Mexico affected the states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Veracruz, estimating that there are more than 177,600 people in need of assistance across those states, as well as 58,800 damaged homes.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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