During the span of just two weeks during November 2020, Central America was battered by two separate Category 4 hurricanes, Eta and Iota. Eta, the first hurricane, caused an unprecedented level of damage throughout Central America, particularly in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. The damage was amplified by Hurricane Iota, which followed a remarkably similar storm path as Eta.
Once the two hurricanes finally passed over Central America, governments and non-governmental organisations assessed the level of damage and lives affected, and the numbers were astounding. Over 6.8 million people in Central America have been affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota and 3.4 million people are in need of urgent support, including 1.3 million children. In Nicaragua alone, 1.8 million people have been affected and 43,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by the two hurricanes.
The magnitude of this disaster and the high levels of need in the region, mean that under normal circumstances World Jewish Relief may have launched an emergency appeal, maximising the scale and impact of our response. However, due to the US elections, Covid-19 and Brexit negotiations, this disaster has received woefully little media coverage. We made the decision that, rather than launching a formal appeal, we would coordinate a modest-sized intervention using World Jewish Relief’s Disaster Fund.
We are working with our local partner Nitlapan, to provide essential sanitary kits and water filtration systems to those in need. This intervention has allowed us to quickly and effectively provide essential items to help ensure the safety of those whose lives have been profoundly disrupted by these tragic disasters.
The Disaster Fund is a critical component of World Jewish Relief’s humanitarian assistance programme. It enables us to respond rapidly and effectively when a disaster hits, even when it is smaller scale or has attracted minimal media attention. You can learn more about our Disaster Fund, and donate, here.
Schools are used as emergency shelters for those whose homes have been destroyed.