On November 3, Eta — the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season — made landfall in Central America, unleashing heavy winds, rain, and severe flooding and landslides across the region. Thousands of people have been evacuated, and tens of thousands have been affected by the devastation.
Here are three ways we are responding to help communities across Central America affected by Tropical Storm Eta:
1. Activating disaster specialists across Central America
Immediately following the storm, USAID activated several disaster experts across Central America — including in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala — to assess humanitarian needs and coordinate the U.S. Government’s response with local and national authorities.
USAID supports a network of 29 disaster risk management specialists, and more than 400 on-call disaster consultants in 27 countries across the Latin America and Caribbean region. These consultants — including those on the ground in Central America — know the country, culture, and local officials and can quickly report on conditions on the ground to help USAID prioritize humanitarian needs.
2. Providing emergency supplies
Within a day of Eta making landfall, USAID began working with ADRA International and World Vision to provide emergency relief supplies in Honduras, including hygiene items, kitchen sets, and blankets. The tropical storm dumped as much as three feet of rain in some areas. These vital relief supplies are helping people evacuated to temporary shelters.
In Nicaragua, where Eta made its strongest landfall as a Category 4 storm, USAID is working with UN partner organizations and tapping into their on-the-ground logistics capabilities to provide vital relief supplies — including hygiene kits — to communities in need.
3. Providing emergency food assistance
Tropical Storm Eta’s slow movement and continuous heavy rains also triggered major flooding and landslides in Central America before moving onto the United States. USAID is working with Catholic Relief Services and other partners on the ground in Guatemala to provide emergency food assistance to people forced to evacuate their homes and move to temporary shelters. In Nicaragua, we’re working with WFP to provide urgent food assistance to the most vulnerable communities affected by the storm.
Year round, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance works to reduce the risk and impact of future disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. We work with local governments and humanitarian organizations in the region to develop emergency and evacuation plans; train national disaster response organizations and first responders; and educate vulnerable communities so they know what to do when the next storm hits.
Get more information on USAID’s Tropical Storm Eta response efforts.