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Guatemala | Urgent call for assistance

Hurricanes Eta and Iota









Last updated date 17/02/2021, see corrigendum


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    Subregional Central America | Hurricanes Eta and Iota
    Urgent call for assistance
    2021
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    Central America has been severely affected by a record-breaking hurricane season, with Category 4 Hurricane Eta raging through the region at the beginning of November, followed by Category 5 Hurricane Iota just about two weeks later. The heavy rains, strong winds, flash floods and storm surges triggered by the Hurricanes have affected a total of about 8.3 million people across Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, which are already hard hit by years of erratic weather patterns and more recently by the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, resulting in potentially significant catastrophic impacts. Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua were the most heavily affected countries in the region. Supporting small-scale farmers and other affected households who lost crops and productive assets from the early onset of the lean season through the primera harvest (March‑September 2021) is essential to restore their livelihoods.
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    The Republic of Nicaragua | Urgent call for assistance
    Hurricanes Eta and Iota
    2021
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    Central America has been severely affected by a record-breaking hurricane season, with the passage of Category 4 Hurricane Eta across the region in early November 2020, followed by Category 5 Hurricane Iota about two weeks later with the strongest winds experienced in 127 years. The rains, strong winds, flash flooding and storm surges triggered by the Hurricanes have affected about 5 million people across Central America and Mexico, an area already hit by years of erratic weather patterns and more recently by the effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the results of which are potentially catastrophic. The Government of Nicaragua has indicated that preliminary estimates of overall damages and losses due to the Hurricanes amount to more than USD 742 million (6.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product). So far, about 40 percent of those affected are from Nicaragua – 3 million people mainly from the indigenous territories where artisanal fishing, forestry and agriculture have been significantly impacted. The Hurricanes hit at the start of the lean season when food stocks are already traditionally low and have now been depleted. Moreover, reduced harvests are expected and livestock production has been severely affected, with significant losses. The combined effects of the Hurricanes and of COVID-19 are expected to exacerbate vulnerabilities, with increased levels of food insecurity and malnutrition; as 30 percent of the working population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is essential to provide emergency agricultural support to the most vulnerable, affected households.
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    The Republic of Honduras | Urgent call for assistance
    Hurricanes Eta and Iota
    2020
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    Hurricanes Eta and Iota are the most severe natural hazards that have hit Honduras in more than 20 years. Early November, Category 4 Hurricane Eta started bringing torrential rains and winds as strong as 275 km/h in northern Honduras. During its slow three-day journey over Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, Eta downgraded to a tropical storm and then onto a tropical depression, with heavy rains in much of Honduras and causing river levels to rise, flooding and landslides across the country. On 16 November 2020, Category 5 Hurricane Iota made landfall, which went from being a major storm to a tropical depression following almost the same path as Eta. Hurricane Iota caused even more flooding and wind damage, affecting already vulnerable communities following the passage of Eta, further aggravating humanitarian needs and food insecurity. In a country where 1.65 million people were facing acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels, the impact of the hurricanes is likely to have increased the number of people in IPC Phase 3+. This is linked to the sudden decrease in food access and availability, labour, loss of productive assets and crops, damage in production areas, supply and the depletion of food reserves. The livelihoods of rural populations are devastated and the situation is threatening the most vulnerable population groups, who experience higher constraints in accessing food, and will face a rapid deterioration of their food security and nutrition, forcing them to adopt negative coping mechanisms.

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