Hurricane season continues to batter Honduras

Published: 23 November 2005 0:00 CET

The 2005 hurricane season appears intent on maintaining its onslaught on Central America, leaving a trail of disaster and despair. In its wake is a high toll of victims, major infrastructure damage and thousands of homeless.

Honduras is among the many other Central American countries affected. At it slowly tries to recover from Hurricanes Stan and Wilma, the country has been hit hard by Tropical Storm Gamma over the past weekend. According to preliminary reports, Gamma has affected the departments of Yoro, Cortes, Atlantida, Gracias a Dios, Olancho and Colon, all of which have sustained damage and loss. More than 30 people have been reported death.

Tropical Storm Gamma is the 24th named storm of the 2005 hurricane season. Although it was downgraded to a tropical depression, the trail of damage it has left in Honduras is critical.

The Honduras Red Cross has maintained it presence throughout the hurricane season, bringing continuous support to victims and their families. Following Tropical Storm Gamma, staff and volunteers have been undertaking evacuation and rescue efforts while also providing first aid, humanitarian aid and support at shelters before, during and after the disasters.

An important aspect of the current work of the Honduras Red Cross has been to prepare temporary shelters in schools and community centres to protect the lives of those living in the areas expected to be affected.

Now that Gamma has left the country, the Honduras Red Cross and its affiliates are continuing to work to minimise the impact and protect the local population. Volunteers and staff have been working closely with Municipal Emergency Committees, CODEM, local authorities and other local emergency authorities to coordinate the evacuation, rescue and shelter efforts in the affected areas.

The true level of damage and number of families affected remains uncertain as collapsed bridges and flooded rivers mean some areas have yet to be reached. Damage evaluation is currently in underway to enable the immediate needs of those affected to be met.

The International Federation is currently supporting Honduran Red Cross’ work with a delivery of 22,259 tons of food for 1,350 families, as well as hygiene kits, blankets and other humanitarian aid. Colon in the Tocoa Municipality, Santa Barbara, Olancho, El Paraiso and Choluteca are among the departments and areas that will benefit immediately.

“The Honduras Red Cross continues to be alert and is currently fulfilling the objectives of the plan of action prepared to cover the immediate needs of those most vulnerable,” said Oswaldo Arriaga of the Honduras Red Cross.