RESPONSE UPDATE SUMMARY
• Project HOPE is on the ground and coordinating assessment and response efforts in Honduras.
• Project HOPE is sending an initial shipment of 200K surgical and KN95 masks to the region.
• At the request of the Honduran government and PAHO, HOPE is mobilizing an emergency medical team with partners.
• Iota made landfall Monday, November 16 at 10:40pm ET as a Category 4 hurricane near Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.
• Iota is heavily impacting regions already damaged and populations left vulnerable by Hurricane Eta which made landfall 2 weeks ago.
• COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising in Honduras with 2,100 new cases confirmed last week and a 33% positive testing rate at shelters in Tegucigalpa.
• Honduras upwardly revised impact numbers from Hurricane Eta from 1.6 million people affected to 3 million people.
Hurricane Iota made landfall south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua Monday night as a Category 4 storm bring damaging winds and significant rain.
While the storm is now a Category 1 and expected to weaken further as it crosses Central America, Iota is anticipated to release up to 30 inches of rain on areas already flooded or highly saturated due to rainfall from Hurricane Eta less than two weeks ago.
Iota is disrupting repairs to local infrastructure. In Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, a makeshift hospital had its roof blown off as Iota made landfall and many temporary shelters were destroyed due to the heavy winds. In Honduras, the airport in Tegucigalpa closed early Tuesday morning, hampering efforts to bring humanitarian supplies into the country, which continues to have limited overland travel due to damage to roads and bridges from flooding and landslides.
COVID-19 cases are expected to surge in the aftermath of the two hurricanes. Official data from the Ministry of Health in Honduras shows 2,100 new cases from November 6 to 13. i The surge in COVID-10 cases can be attributed to a lack of available personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as the limited space for isolation of family units or individuals in shelters that currently house approximately 56,986 people.ii In Tegucigalpa, COVID-19 tests at shelters have a 33% positive testing rate. Project HOPE also anticipates a surge in vector borne diseases in the aftermath of heavy flooding in the region.
Following Eta, many communities remained isolated with estimated that up to 100,000 people may remain isolated from national roadways and responders in Honduras. The additional rainfall, flooding, and damage to infrastructure from Iota will likely prolong the isolation of these communities from health and WASH services.