November 29, 2020 | 9 p.m.
Springfield, Mo. Residents of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are still recovering from the deadly hurricanes that struck this month. Even though the storms have passed, much of the ground in Central America is so saturated with water that the risk for life-threatening flash floods, river floods, and mudslides is ever-present.
Shortly after Eta passed through, Convoy of Hope’s team in Nicaragua reported that the storm destroyed 100% of crops for our Agriculture participants. The crops in Honduras are also a total loss. All of this is happening against the backdrop of COVID-19, which is disproportionately affecting people living in poverty.
This rapid destruction has the potential to undo years of humanitarian work and affect residents for generations. Fortunately, Convoy of Hope has had embedded teams throughout Central America for years. Our commitment to this part of the world is strong, and we are dedicated to helping these people navigate times of tragedy.
Here is what our teams have accomplished so far:
- Individuals served: 85,602
- Meals distributed: 1,401,572
- Hygiene kits distributed: 660
- Tarps distributed: 182
- Water filters distributed: 53
- Churches, organizations, and operational partners: 62
- Communities served: 23
November 19, 2020 | 3:40 p.m.
Springfield, Mo. Earlier this week, Hurricane Iota made landfall in Central America. The government of Nicaragua has since declared Iota to be the strongest storm in the nation’s history. Iota blew ashore at a particularly difficult time. Many in Central America were still reeling from Hurricane Eta — which struck just two weeks prior — and were without shelter when Iota arrived.
Convoy of Hope’s field office in Nicaragua reports that, in addition to the 92 program centers damaged by Hurricane Eta, 33 program centers were flooded or damaged by the storm’s high winds. Those 33 centers represent more than 1,000 families that we connect with through local programs.
Although severe flooding, landslides, and damaged roads have presented significant hazards and challenges for Convoy of Hope’s staff across Central America, response plans are already established to distribute food and relief supplies to those in need, and will commence as soon as it is safe to do so.
Hurricane Iota diminished from a powerful Category 5 hurricane to a tropical storm with sustained winds of less than 35 mph as it made its way off the coast of El Salvador into the Pacific Ocean. However, those impacted by the storm have not yet gotten a break from the torrential rainfall — totalling more than 45 inches in some areas of Guatemala and Honduras.
The consistent ground saturation from both Eta and Iota has led to continual widespread flooding and perilous landslides. Authorities fear that a large mudslide 80 miles north of Managua may have claimed as many as 30 lives. Elsewhere, tens of thousands of residents were displaced by the storm. Concern is also growing over the potential of COVID-19 spreading in shelters which have met or exceeded their intended capacities for occupancy.
November 17, 2020 | 4:40 p.m.
Springfield, Mo. Two weeks after Hurricane Eta tore through Central America, Hurricane Iota has brought more destruction to those already struggling to rebuild and recover.
Hurricane Eta — a Category 4 storm — brought 140 mph winds, causing widespread flooding, deadly mudslides, power outages in many areas. Authorities reported that 35 towns were left without telecommunication capabilities in Nicaragua alone.
Two weeks later, Hurricane Iota intensified to a Category 5 storm with wind speeds in excess of 155 mph and struck a mere 15 miles south of where Eta had displaced thousands. Because the ground was beyond saturated from the previous storm, Iota caused devastating amounts of flooding and subsequent mudslides. Some areas were threatened by up to 30 inches of rain, and coastal areas braced for a storm surge of up to 10 feet.
Hurricane Iota set a new record as the 30th named storm to strike during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season. Hitting just yesterday on November 16, Iota also broke a record for being the latest Category 5 storm to form in the Atlantic Basin. The previous record was set on November 8, 1932. In addition to this milestone, the speed at which Hurricane Iota intensified is concerning and noteworthy to meteorologists.
To date, more than 3.6 million people have been affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Convoy of Hope remains dedicated to providing help and hope to those in need. To make a donation, click here.
November 9, 2020 | 5:30 p.m.
Springfield, MoHurricane Eta first made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm and later proceeded north at an unusually slow rate. Flooding and subsequent landslides were primary threats in many areas across Central America as Eta lingered and continued to dump rain. The United States National Hurricane Center predicts 15 to 25 inches of rain across Nicaragua and Honduras, and as much as 40 inches in certain isolated areas.
The death toll approached 70 over the weekend after a continued search for those still missing — most of whom were displaced due to the deadly landslides. Several others are wading through waist-high flood waters or seeking shelter on the roofs of their homes.
Convoy of Hope’s International Disaster Services Director Ryan Grabill says that Eta, the most destructive storm in over 20 years, struck at a particularly difficult time. The COVID-19 pandemic has already taken a toll on Central America’s economy. As a result, the food, shelter, and other relief supplies Convoy of Hope is providing are all greatly needed.
“Whether by container, air freight, or local purchasing, Convoy of Hope is committed to serving families affected by Eta as they work to recover from the impacts of this storm,” Ryan says.
To date, Convoy of Hope has already delivered more than 135,000 meals and other disaster relief supplies — including tarps and hygiene kits — to thousands of individuals affected by the storm.
November 8, 2020 | 1:30 p.m.
Springfield, MoCarlos, an active volunteer for Convoy of Hope in Honduras, lives in one of the main communities affected by Hurricane Eta. Thankfully, he and his family were able to get to safety before the catastrophic flooding damaged their home ... but doing so meant they had to leave everything behind.
Carlos said, "Thank God I managed to get out on time with the most valuable thing I have — my family. Many of my neighbors were trapped and are still waiting on the roofs of their houses to be rescued."
On behalf of Carlos and the people we are able to assist during times of crises, thank you for your support.
Follow our response here.
November 7, 2020 | 11:30 p.m.
Springfield, MoHurricane Eta became a strong Category 4 storm before impacting Nicaragua with winds up to 140 miles per hour. It was one of the strongest storms to hit Central America since Hurricane Mitch, in 1998.
After making landfall Tuesday, Eta slowed to an excruciatingly slow speed, which has caused life-threatening flooding. Power has been cut off in many areas, and roads have been severely damaged. Cities such as San Pedro Sula in Honduras have been inundated with water. Several other communities throughout Central America have been affected by devastating landslides. Dozens of people have died as a result of this storm.
Convoy of Hope has distributed nearly 100,000 meals in Central America to those hardest hit by the hurricane.
November 3, 2020 | 12:30 p.m.
Springfield, MoHurricane Eta strengthened to a Category 4 on Monday with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour — just barely shy of a Category 5 storm — and is expected to make landfall today. The National Hurricane Center warned that Eta will bring catastrophic winds, a storm surge, and flooding to both Nicaragua and Honduras. Once the storm makes landfall, Eta is expected to linger over the area with severe rain — causing flash floods and possible landslides. Some reports call for up to 25 inches of rain in these regions. Eta is the strongest November hurricane to strike the Atlantic in over 10 years.
Guillermo González, director of Nicaragua’s emergency management agency, reported that as the storm inched closer, Eta’s high winds began uprooting trees, knocking over poles and power lines, and ripping the roofs off of homes. Rivers in the area have already begun to rise.
Convoy of Hope staff in both Nicaragua and Honduras are on standby and are ready to respond. Our teams have pre-staged more than 77,000 meals of rice and soy to be used in relief efforts after the storm hits. You can follow our response at convoyofhope.org.