Tzu Chi’s humanitarian response to the flood survivors in Guapinol, Honduras

News and Press Release
Originally published

In 2016, during Honduras’ rainy season, massive floods struck coastal communities in the Gulf of Fonseca. Most villages rely on fishing for survival and haven’t been able to rebuild their lives since then.

Guapinol, a small fishing village, is one of these communities. Life as a fisherman is tough. Victor, a fisherman in Guapinol, said, “I have been fishing for 15 years. Sometimes because of the weather, we can't go out fishing for one or two months. Sometimes we don't get anything and our situation becomes very difficult.”

Tzu Chi conducted a disaster assessment and started a work-for-relief program to aid the people of Guapinol. The survivors received one bag of rice in exchange for helping to clean their village after the flood damages.

Tzu Chi Volunteer Sarah said, “Now in Guapinol, we have more than 84 volunteers. Because we have already sown the seeds of love, today for example, we have cleaned up the community. And more volunteers came. In the end, there were more than 150 people. Through community groups, we can keep our environment clean to reduce the pollution in the area.”

“We are very happy to be with this group of volunteers. We do everything we can so that the rice distribution is effective. What the Foundation has taught us is to serve others. It has been a great blessing because we can see that we have expanded the benefits. Through the volunteers' work, we have sown a seed of love to the people here - not only to come to receive but also to serve others.” Sarah continued.

A Guapinol resident Santos Pastrana said, “We are cleaning the neighborhood. It's work that we really need for ourselves. The floods affected our homes. I got water all the way inside the house.”

Another resident Arturo Giron said, “We are so thankful for this help that has come here in Guapinol. These two elders haven't got a family. The old man is blind and she is 78 years old. They can't work. The village takes care of them. And today for the first time, they are being helped by this food that has been donated to them.”

Emilia Rodriguez, a local resident echoed, “They have given us so much support. This is where we live and it's been very complicated. So I'm so thankful for all this help. I feel happy. They have given us something to eat. May god bless them and give them a long life.”

People in the village received not only rice and financial support, but also emotional support from Tzu Chi.

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