More than 1.5 million children at risk due to the impact of Tropical Storm ETA in Honduras- UNICEF
TEGUCIGALPA/ NEW YORK, 5 November 2020 — More than 1.5 million children are at risk due to the damage brought by Tropical Storm Eta as it passes through Honduras, UNICEF said today.
“This is the worst storm Honduras has seen in decades. The damage will undoubtedly be significant,” said Mark Connolly, UNICEF Representative in Honduras. “Waterborne diseases are the first threat to children in these situations, our first priority is to ensure that children have sufficient clean water and hygiene.”
Heavy rains in the eastern, central and northern areas of Honduras have increased the risk of floods and landslides. Airports remain closed and the Honduran Government has declared an indefinite red alert in the country's 18 departments and ordered mandatory evacuations in high-risk areas. As of 5 November, and according to official data, 2 people have died, 360,170 people have been affected, 2,776 people have been evacuated, 3,539 people are in shelters, and 200 people have been rescued.
In a country where fewer than one in five people in rural areas have access to proper sanitation, and 40 per cent of people use unsafe water sources, it is feared that the rains caused by Eta will worsen an already precarious situation.
UNICEF is working to support the Government's humanitarian response through mental health and psychosocial support services in the most affected communities, reaching approximately 2,000 children, adolescents and their families, who are currently in temporary shelters. An initial $16,000 have also been made available to support the immediate installation of 3 emergency shelters in the coastal city of Puerto Cortés, which will be a temporary shelter for 400 children and their families.
In addition, the Humanitarian Country Team has been activated, led by the United Nations System and the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO), to complement the humanitarian response actions of the National Risk Management System (SINAGER).
To keep the population informed and prepared for the possible effects of Tropical Storm Eta, UNICEF has activated an informative Bot through the U-Report Honduras platform. During the first 48 hours, more than 15,230 people interacted with the Bot, receiving important messages before, during and after the emergency.