Close this search box.

Integral Responds to Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Central America

Integral Alliance has launched an Integral alert for Hurricanes Eta and Iota, with six Members opting in to be part of this joint Integral Disaster Response …

Photo: © Food for the Hungry, Comunidad Seoguis, Guatemala

Integral Alliance has launched an Integral alert for Hurricanes Eta and Iota, with six Members opting in to be part of this joint Integral Disaster Response[1]. Members are currently responding in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, both directly on the ground and through Partners. 

Hurricane Eta entered Honduras as a tropical storm on 4 November 2020. High winds and sustained rains caused flooding, damage to structures, and mudslides throughout much of Central America, affecting a total of nine countries. Much of the impacted areas are rural and hard to reach because roads and bridges have been washed away. The storm has also destroyed most of the harvest and in coming months communities will face increased food insecurity in addition to COVID-19. For some of the affected countries there is a ‘triple impact’ effect with the hurricane, COVID-19 and a pre-existing humanitarian crisis. [Source here].

On 16 November 2020 Hurricane Iota, the strongest Atlantic storm recorded this year, followed the same path.These situations are also being pushed out of the media headlines because of coverage of other world events which means fewer people hearing about the situation and donating to help those affected.

Integral Member Medical Teams International is responding in Guatemala where the death toll is expected to climb due to large scale landslides. Betsy Baldwin, their Director of the Humanitarian Response Team, says, “In a country that has suffered immense amounts of social inequality, high rates of violence, and persistent drought and food insecurity coupled with natural disasters on a regular basis, this crisis comes at an extremely challenging time during the pandemic.”

Betsy continues, “The added value of an Integral joint response in this context is that we can share resources in a world where so much has been given towards COVID-19 and there is little media attention on this or other crises. The work of Integral in this context is a real opportunity to support those who have been so badly affected by the storm.”

Jan Eyre, Integral’s Head of Disaster Management and Programmes, says, “By issuing an Integral alert for this situation our hope is that we will be able to increase collaboration by bringing together in-country staff, increasing funding support and sharing technical expertise from across the alliance.  We don’t know the full scale of the impact of Hurricanes Eta and Iota yet, but there is growing evidence of large scale crop losses in what is an already food insecure region.  While our Members are addressing emergency needs now, they are already preparing for the support that the communities they serve will need over the coming months and beyond.”

In the initial stages of an Integral response, calls are held as frequently as necessary, so that Members can share information in the critical phase when needs are acute. The Integral online platform enables Members to share photos and stories, response plans and funding needs.

Click here to for an infographic of this Integral Disaster Response

[1] Food for the Hungry (US & Canada),  Medair (Switzerland), Medical Teams International (US), Tearfund (UK), World Relief (US), World Renew (US & Canada)