The situation remains dire for thousands of children and families affected by the passage of Eta and Iota hurricanes in Central America. Nearly 9.3 million people have been affected (including 3.5 million children) and thousands remain in shelters, facing heightened protection and public health risks.
Ensuring shelters are safe spaces for children and families; rehabilitation of schools – including those that have been used as shelters; access to healthy foods; rehabilitation of water systems and providing lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies and services; and mainstreaming actions for prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA); remain among the most pressing needs of the affected families.
UNICEF Country Offices (COs) continue increasing their field presence and scaling up response. Progress in the response over the reporting period include:
In Honduras: Over 4,600 people in shelters benefit daily from access to safe water, hygiene supplies and services. More than 30,000 more people, including those who have returned to their communities, are starting to receive UNICEF-supported WASH services. In shelters, UNICEF and partners are reaching more than 29,000 people with mental health and psychosocial support, and nearly 11,000 women, girls and boys have benefited from gender-based violence prevention interventions. With UNICEF support, 2,749 vulnerable families have received in-kind social transfers.
In Guatemala, UNICEF has reached 11,744 children with essential nutrition services, in Huehuetenango and Alta Verapaz departments. In late December, UNICEF will launch WASH activities in some the most affected areas, targeting 15,000 people, construction materials for the rehabilitation of 95 schools are being procured, and psychosocial support have been provided to over 4,600 children and adolescents, in shelters and communities.
In Nicaragua, WASH supplies are being procured to reach 5,000 families in some of the most affected communities in Waspam municipality and Jinotega department, before the end of December. Education supplies and WASH in school actions will reach 20,000 children, starting in January 2021. UNICEF and partners are setting up child friendly spaces to reach around 8,000 children and adolescents in shelters and communities.
In Belize, 250 women and children have been reached through telemedicine support services, 160 families received early childhood development (ECD) for at-home activities, and 40 recreation kits were distributed to child friendly spaces, aiming to impact 1,600 children.
In Costa Rica, WASH supplies were delivered to authorities to start distribution, targeting over 2,900 children. These kits include additional information material to promote the return to school in February 2021.
UNICEF has received US$5.3 million against the US$42.6 million Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal in response to the needs of children and families affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota. The current funding gap stands at 87.5 per cent.