Stamford, Conn. – Nov. 17, 2020 – Americares is responding to Hurricane Iota, which made landfall in Nicaragua yesterday as a catastrophic Category 4 storm just 15 miles south of where Hurricane Eta came ashore less than two weeks ago. While Iota is expected to weaken as it makes its way across Central America, the National Hurricane Center warned that the hurricane could bring life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides as it heads to Honduras and El Salvador.
"Hurricane Iota made landfall in a region struggling to recover from the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Eta, which left tens of thousands homeless just two weeks ago," said Raul Pineda, Americares Latin America emergency response coordinator. "Thousands of families have been impacted by these back-to-back storms, and Americares is ready to meet their most urgent health needs."
Americares is working with partner organizations in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to provide protective masks, hygiene products and COVID-19 safety trainings for families staying in evacuation shelters.
With thousands of families still in shelters from Hurricane Eta, and thousands more now seeking refuge from Iota, there is increased concern about the potential spread of COVID-19. Personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for evacuees are among the greatest needs, particularly as larger shelters open across the region to meet the expanded need, said Pineda, who is based in San Salvador. In Honduras, Americares will be supporting a shelter in Tegucigalpa that can accommodate up to 1,000 people through a partnership with a local health clinic providing medical services in the shelter.
Americares supports hundreds of hospitals, clinics and social service organizations throughout Central America on an ongoing basis, as well as in times of disaster. Last year alone, Americares provided 1.4 million prescription medicines for patients in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Americares has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters at a moment's notice and has a long history of responding to emergencies in Central America, including earthquakes, disease outbreaks and major storms. Americares responds to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities.
Donations to Americares Worldwide Disaster Relief Fund will support its response to the crisis. To donate, go to americares.org/worldwide