The Honduran Red Cross was unable to conduct this operation because the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) floods operation coincided with Honduras’s general elections on 26 November 2017 to elect its president, legislators and mayors for the next four years; this election marked the first time a president was up for reelection, which led to many demonstrations, marches and parades during the period leading up to the election due to conflicting opinions among Hondurans about this process. The elections were followed by blockages along major roads across the country, widespread looting, curfews (loss of free circulation rights) and the obstruction of emergency services, among other disturbances.
The area with the greatest instability was the Sula Valley, precisely where the emergency operation was to be staged; therefore, based on the Safe Access standards, whose purpose is to guarantee the physical integrity of Red Cross personnel and safeguard institutional assets and materials, the HRC decided not to conduct the actions contained in the operation's emergency plan of action (EPoA).
The National Society, accompanied by the IFRC's security coordinator and the disaster management coordinator for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean visited the target municipalities and communities to analyze the socio-political situation in the area and develop an implementation strategy; nonetheless, the IFRC coordinators and HRC staff determined that the situation would put Red Cross at risk and the target population’s needs had diminished since the emergency, leading to the decision not to conduct the operation and to return the DREF funds to the IFRC.
The Honduras Red Cross spent a total of CHF 7,027. The remaining balance of CHF 161,934 will be returned to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.
A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
In October 2017, COPECO declared a green alert in the departments -of Cortés, Yoro, Atlántida, Islas de La Bahía and Colón due to the intense rainfall caused by the first cold front of the season; On 24 October, the Honduran government declared a state of emergency in the departments of Cortés, Atlántida, Yoro, Colón, Islas de la Bahía and Gracias a Dios through Executive Decree PCM-069-2017.
The declaration of emergency remained in place until the 29 October 2017 in Gracias a Dios, Yoro, Islas de la Bahia, Cortés, Atlántida and Colón departments due to flooding from overflowing rivers and streams caused by the heavy rainfall a yellow alert was declared for Olancho, Santa Bárbara and Francisco Morazán departments, and a green alert was declared in Copan, Comayagua, La Paz, Valle, Choluteca, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Intibucá and El Paraíso.
The Honduran government established 79 collective centres to house and protect the affected population; 73 of which were in northern parts of the country, specifically in San Pedro Sula, La Lima, Potrerillos, Villanueva, Pimienta, San Manuel, Puerto Cortés and Omoa in Cortés, Quimistán in Santa Bárbara and El Progreso in Yoro.