Two weeks after Hurricane Eta struck Central America, authorities continue assessing the damages and gathering information on the affected communities. Over 4.6 people have been affected by Eta in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, among them approximately 1.8 million children.
Only a few days away after Eta struck the region, Hurricane Iota appeared as a catastrophic category 5 hurricane on 16 November, with a similar path to Hurricane Eta.
Iota has affected not only many of the communities already impacted by Eta, but many additional ones. According to initial reports, more than 38 people have died during floods and landslides caused by Iota, and nearly half million people – including 189,000 children - have been affected by this latest storm, only in Guatemala and Honduras.
Based on estimations by UNICEF and other partners, among those affected by Eta, at least 3.4 million people need urgent assistance, including 1.3 million children, in the most affected communities in Belize, Guatemala,
Honduras and Nicaragua. From this total, UNICEF plans to reach over 646,000 people, including 327,000 children. These targets are expected to increase taking into account Iota’s impact.
UNICEF Country Offices (COs) and partners continue scaling up efforts in response to the affected communities.
In Honduras, UNICEF has delivered WASH humanitarian assistance to 5,104 affected people in shelters, including water supply support; over 10,000 children are benefiting from improved conditions in shelters, including through the provision of mental health support; 4,500 vulnerable families have received in-kind transfers. UNICEF-supported teams identified at least 112 cases of children with protection needs, including 106 children separated from their caretakers and six survivors of sexual abuse in shelters, which are already under protective custody.
In Guatemala, authorities are distributing 1,900 personal hygiene kits provided by UNICEF to families affected by Eta and Iota.
In Nicaragua, WASH supplies provided by UNICEF are being distributed by authorities, benefiting 15,000 families; UNICEF has commissioned PPE for 1,000 health workers and life-saving messages have reached over 38,000 people, including in local languages.
In Belize, UNICEF is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items for 3,000 women, children and healthcare staff, and 2,000 hygiene kits are being distributed for breastfeeding women.
In Costa Rica, UNICEF will provide PPE items and hygiene kits for frontline workers and affected families, targeting 3,000 people.
In El Salvador, UNICEF is distributing 210 PPE kits, 265 hygiene kits for children and 275 hygiene kits for families.
In Panama, UNICEF is providing over 13 tonnes of supplies including tarpaulin, water containers, tents, blankets and mosquito nets for migrant families and for those affected by the impacts of Eta and Iota in vulnerable border communities.
UNICEF is urgently appealing for US$42.6 million for the next six months, to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of children and families affected by Hurricane Eta in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This funding requirement is provisional and subject to change. UNICEF is assessing the impacts of Hurricane Iota which will likely increase the humanitarian needs in these and other countries.