Friday, November 13, 2020

Aftermath of Hurricane Eta in Honduras

UPDATE: Prayers desperately needed! Tropical Storm Iota is expected to hit Honduras early this week! Honduras is not ready to deal with this so soon after taking a bad hit from Hurricane Eta. Please pray!!

As you are probably aware, Honduras has been having a very rough year. COVID-19 and the lockdown had really made life difficult for the people here. Honduras is a poor country, and many Hondurans barely scrape by as it is. Now they've had a hurricane thrown on top of a pandemic!

For us Sowers, it feels almost like coming full circle - we arrived in Honduras almost exactly 20 years ago in response to Hurricane Mitch to build a hospital in Guanaja, long before we had made it our mission to empower Honduran pastors or moved to Gracias. So while we are NOT a humanitarian organization, we do have a history of helping with humanitarian efforts. During normal years we don't have much disaster relief work, but here we are this year, working on pandemics and hurricane aftermath.

Similarly to Mitch, it was not the wind from Hurricane Eta that really did the damage, but the rain. Widespread flooding and landslides have knocked out bridges and roads throughout the country, but especially along the North and East coasts, making relief efforts difficult. Exact numbers are unknown and are all rough estimates at this time, but CARE International estimates that around 38,000 Hondurans have been displaced from their homes. Mr. Allen suspects, once all damage is accounted for and all communities thoroughly assessed, that that number will be far higher, perhaps into the hundreds of thousands. This estimation is based on damage reports from specific communities, such as La Lima and El Progresso, that experienced flooding in almost 100% of households.

Sadly, around 60 people have died in Honduras - but considering that during Hurricane Mitch that number was estimated to be between 10,000 and 11,000, we do have much to be grateful for. 

Unfortunately, the bridges and roads being out is making it very difficult for relief efforts. Porta Castilllo, one of two shipping ports in Honduras, is currently having a difficult time sending out supplies. Mr. Allen is concerned that this means Porta Cortez, where we normally send our containers, will be overwhelmed by incoming shipments that have been diverted from Porta Castillo. This has the potential to delay the arrival of our containers of food and backpacks. 

We are extremely grateful that the Lempira area was not hit too hard. For more information on the damage and our relief efforts for our area, see this post. We are more worried about the potential delay to our containers - the school year is coming up quickly, so we are feeling a little bit of a time crunch to receive and sort the backpacks. The food of course is an ongoing need in response to COVID-19, but it is possible we could get it expedited as disaster relief supplies. 

Please pray with us for Honduras during these difficult times! Here's our current list of prayer requests:

- Please pray that the containers make it in promptly, with no delays. 

- Please pray for the relief efforts, that they would be effective.

- Please pray for strength and healing for Honduras.

- Finally, please pray that all God will use all of this for His Glory, as we know He will!

- posted by Kirstin S.

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