Honduras

Honduras: Situation Report no. 9 - Emergencies October 2008

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1. Situation

1. Nature of the Disaster

Since October 13th, heavy rainfalls affected the Honduran territory due to the interaction of Tropical Depression 16th with a low depression curret accompanied by a swell in the pacific coast. This brought as a consequence intensive rains all over the country, especially in the central and western area causing severe floods and landslides.

On October 19th the President of the Republic of Honduras declared a State of Emergency (Executive Decree No. 0292008). The decree ordered Ministries and specialized institutions under the coordination of the Permanent Commission for Contingencie (COPECO) to take immediate necessary actions utilizing funds from the national budget and the international community. Thus ensuring the relief activities such as rescue and aid support to continue.

2. The most vulnerable communities have lost their livelihoods and income and their survival conditions will remain precarious forseveral months.

Flooding and landslides have caused loss of lives, injured people and displaced persons as well as damages in houses (many destroyed) and public infrastructure. 17 out of 18 departments are affected. Agricultural land and crops ready to be harvest were lost, potable drinking water systems were either contaminated or destroyed.

In the South part of the country, 1,100 houses were flooded due to a combination of heavy rains, high tides and strong waves. Those families affected did not want to leave their homes because they were under the impression that the water levels will drp rapidly. This situation provoked a sanitary risk environment because of the flooded and contaminated water wells with waste waters.

The continuity of the rainfall and the recurrence of the overflows and landslides maintained a continuous evacuation of 55,994 amilies. It is estimated that just the capital city, Tegucigalpa, received during the month of October twice as much of rain of the annual average.

Due to occurrence of landslides several communities were literally buried. Moreover, as a consequence of the landslides, several natural dams were formed, causing a great concern in the communities nearby.

3. To make the situation worse, the country is undergoing a Cold Front. This event is bringing more rain. Thus, leaving more flooding, landslides, more damage and most important, more affected people.

4. To address the emergency situation an Inter-agency Emergency Response Plan is being implemented and cluster groups were activated for Water and Sanitation, Shelter, Health, Food Security and Nutrition, Early Recovery and Telecommunication and Logistics. To support these actions an UNDAC mission was requested and arrived on October 22nd.

Moreover, the governments of Honduras has requested the United Nations support by providing a team of geologist with the objective of runing geographical tests and know which places are unsuitable to live in.