NPR: Even Disaster Veterans Are Stunned By What’s Happening In Honduras
In a new piece for NPR, Jason Beaubien details the devastation wrought in recent weeks by Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
In Guatemala and Honduras, the back-to-back storms have displaced hundreds of thousands and the toll on agriculture, schools, and infrastructure has prompted those governments to seek Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protection from the U.S. for their nationals already living here. The logic is that TPS would not only prevent deportations to countries wracked by instability and economic crisis, but perhaps more importantly, would stabilize the work of those already in the U.S. so that they can afford to send more direct aid to their families and homelands through remittances.
The article is excerpted below and can be read in full here:
“Even disaster experts are stunned by the devastation this fall in Honduras.
…Despite both hurricanes initially coming ashore in Nicaragua, neighboring Honduras appears to have suffered the most damage and the most deaths from landslides and flooding caused by the intense rainfall. The cyclones slowed over Honduras and being the last two named-storms of a record-breaking hurricane season, they dumped precipitation on already saturated hillsides.
This week in a nationally broadcast address, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández assured his people, “No están solos” meaning “You are not alone.”
The storms destroyed bridges, roads, schools and health clinics. Families lost their homes, farms and businesses to floodwaters. Landslides packed small downtown plazas with mud.
Hundreds of thousands of Hondurans remain homeless. Many are crowded into shelters. Others are staying with friends and relatives.
…Aid officials say that the damage from hurricanes Eta and Iota rival the damage caused by Hurricane Mitch one of the deadliest Atlantic storms of all time. Mitch hit Honduras in 1998, left 3 million people homeless and prompted tens of thousands of Hondurans to migrate to the United States.
“The damage in terms of costs, destruction, damage to agriculture is just as high,” as from Mitch, says Hugo Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary of state for Central America, about Eta and Iota. “This is Mitch-scale if not bigger.”