Rescuers are desperately trying to reach survivors after Hurricane Eta ripped through Central America early last week. Tearfund’s partner organisations in the region are asking for urgent prayer as they respond.
Over the weekend, reports came in of a landslide in Guatemala that has left 44 people dead. Lives, homes and businesses have been lost.
In Honduras, the authorities have issued a red alert for the entire country, with 57 people losing their lives in the flooding. ‘Hundreds of people are still waiting on the roofs of their houses in flooded areas,’ says Alexis Pacheco, who leads Tearfund’s work in Central America, and is based in Honduras.
Making landfall early last week (3 November), Eta was the second-most intense November hurricane on record, with wind speeds of up to 150mph. Experts are comparing Eta to Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed more than 11,000 people.
Last week, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) warned of ‘catastrophic flooding’. Now, more than 150,000 people have been affected in Nicaragua, 1.8 million in Honduras, and 311,000 in Guatemala.
‘This is probably the worst storm we faced since Mitch twenty years ago,’ says Alexis. ‘The level of destruction of people’s harvest will be similar or worse than when Mitch hit. Central America had drought for four years and this year the rainy season was fantastic with a record production of food. Sadly most of the harvest has been destroyed by Eta.