Latin America Storms - Fact Sheet #6 (FY) 2021

Speeches Shim

December 03, 2020

USAID/BHA announces additional funding for Honduras, Guatemala, and Colombia, bringing the total USAID/BHA funding allocated to the response to nearly $48 million.

Relief actors highlight health, nutrition, protection, and WASH needs among populations remaining in evacuation shelters in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

DoD fulfills all humanitarian missions in Guatemala and Honduras, transporting 257 MT of urgently needed supplies to reach storm-affected communities.

Situation At A Glance


Reported Deaths in Latin America due to Eta and Iota

6.8 million

Estimated People Affected by Eta and Iota in Central America


Estimated People in Official and Unofficial Emergency Shelters in Guatemala and Honduras


Estimated People Isolated From Humanitarian Access in Honduras



For the Latin America Storms Response in FY 2021

USAID/BHA $14,843,762
DoD $6,660,000
TOTAL $21,503,762


USAID/BHA Announces Additional Funding for Latin America Storms Response

On December 3, USAID Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa announced approximately $30 million in additional USAID/BHA funding to respond to the effects of Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Latin America. The new funding includes up to $18.8 million for Honduras, $9 million for Guatemala, and $1.5 million for Colombia. In total, USAID/BHA has allocated nearly $48 million in humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable populations affected by the storms. With USAID/BHA funding, partners will scale up critical services to populations who remain in shelters, broaden programs to reach more affected communities, and support people to return to their communities. Activities will include the delivery of emergency food assistance, shelter support, health care, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. In addition, USAID/BHA will fund logistics efforts to reach people in need, protection for storm-affected individuals, and programs to help people restore their livelihoods.

Relief Actors Highlight Ongoing Health, Nutrition, Protection, WASH Concerns in Evacuation Shelters

One month after Hurricane Eta made landfall in Central America, and more than two weeks after Hurricane Iota’s passage, a significant number of people remain in emergency shelters in the most heavily affected countries. As of December 2, more than 95,700 people in Honduras remained housed in official shelters, according to the Government of Honduras (GoH) National Emergency Commission (COPECO); however, relief actors note the number is likely higher due to displacement from recent landslides. In Guatemala, more than 30,600 people remain in formal shelters, while 278,200 people are residing in informal shelters, the Government of Guatemala (GoG) National Emergency Commission (CONRED) reports. Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, the UN reported approximately 50,700 people remained in shelters as of November 20; however, relief actors estimate this figure has decreased in recent days, as households have been returning home where possible.

Emergency shelters in Honduras are concentrated in the northwestern Sula Valley, with more than 500 shelters in Cortés Department, where humanitarian access remains challenging due to persistent flooding, which is also delaying the ability of displaced people to depart shelters, according to COPECO. Assessments by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other relief actors indicate that WASH services in many of the shelters remain insufficient to meet needs, and personal protective equipment is scarce. In addition, coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mitigation measures—such as physical distancing—are difficult to maintain in shelters.

The UN has also expressed concern over criminal presence in select shelters in Cortés’ San Pedro Sula Municipality, leading to incidents of violence, family separation, and gender-based violence (GBV).


In Guatemala, the UNICEF-led Nutrition Cluster—the coordinating body for humanitarian nutrition activities, comprising UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders—has identified food security and nutrition gaps in shelters. According to preliminary results of a survey at government-led shelters, 59 percent of key informants reported undernourished children in shelters and affected communities. Results also indicate that markets still lack nutritious foods due to flood-related access constraints, and communities do not have adequate food reserves. In addition, as of November 27, more than two-thirds of the 112 official shelters in Alta Verapaz, Izabal, and Quiché departments reported inadequate space and poor WASH conditions, as well as instances of disease and illness among sheltered individuals, the UN reports.

People residing in shelters in Puerto Cabezas Municipality, located in Nicaragua’s North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, face significant humanitarian needs, UNICEF reports. As of December 1, health actors had recorded 300 cases of malaria in Puerto Cabeza’s shelters. In addition, many shelters remain overcrowded and lack access to running water and electricity. UNICEF also expressed concern over widespread cases of GBV, including sexual violence. In response, USAID/BHA is supporting UNICEF to implement protection programs in shelters and surrounding communities in Nicaragua.

DoD Concludes Humanitarian Missions in Guatemala, Honduras; Continues to Provide Transportation Assistance in Colombia

The U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B) concluded its activities in response to storm-related humanitarian needs in Guatemala and Honduras on December 2. Since November 6—when JTF-B first initiated missions to support humanitarian operations in response to Hurricane Eta—JTF-B rescued people stranded by floods and evacuated individuals in need of medical care from isolated areas. JTF-B also transported a total 257 metric tons (MT) of urgently needed emergency food assistance, safe drinking water, hygiene items, and other relief commodities, provided by host governments and humanitarian organizations, to remote and isolated areas of Guatemala and Honduras, and brought humanitarian response personnel to affected communities in support of USAID/BHA-validated requests.

USAID/BHA continues to coordinate with DoD to facilitate transport of Government of Colombia (GoC)-provided heavy machinery from Colombia’s mainland to the islands of San Andrés and Providencia on a U.S. army vessel. On December 1, the vessel delivered 130 MT of equipment to support debris clearance and other recovery activities; the vessel is scheduled to deliver additional supplies in the coming days.


Immediately following Hurricane Eta’s landfall over Central America, USAID/BHA staff in the region began coordinating response activities with national authorities and USAID/BHA partners. On November 17, USAID activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART)—supported at its height by 40 personnel across seven countries—to assess damages, identify priority needs, and work with partners to provide assistance to affected populations, and a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team (RMT) to support the DART. In response to the effects of Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Guatemala and Honduras, JTF-B rapidly mobilized to rescue people from isolated areas and evacuate people in need of medical assistance. JTF-B also supported USAID/BHA-validated requests for unique DoD capabilities by conducting aerial damage assessments and transporting food rations and relief items on behalf of host governments and humanitarian organizations; from November 6 to December 2, JTF-B transported a total 257 MT of humanitarian cargo, as well as humanitarian response personnel, in the two countries. Additionally, through a regional mechanism, USAID/BHA is supporting the local procurement emergency food items and provision of supplies and emergency relief items for affected populations in Belize, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is supporting national Red Cross societies to respond to immediate humanitarian needs resulting from Hurricanes Eta and Iota, and had reached more than 102,000 people with emergency assistance in Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama as of November 23. UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs are coordinating to support populations in collective shelters with emergency food assistance, relief items, and other humanitarian assistance, as well as providing life-saving assistance to communities isolated by flooding. As of November 30, nearly 60 organizations were implementing more than 1,000 multi-sector humanitarian activities across El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, according to the UN.


USAID/BHA provided immediate funding to the American Red Cross to support the distribution of urgently needed relief commodities on San Andrés and Providencia. In late November, USAID/BHA also supported the delivery of approximately 100 MT of GoC relief supplies, including communications equipment, generators, food, medical supplies, and potable water, from Colombia’s capital city of Bogotá to San Andrés. In addition, USAID/BHA has established a humanitarian air bridge between San Andrés and Providencia islands, through which a commercial airline had completed 20 flights transporting 70 MT of emergency relief supplies as of December 3. USAID/BHA also provided 88 tool kits, including hammers, handsaws and screwdrivers; nearly 1 MT of nails; and 80,000 roof tiles to help remove debris and repair roofs on San Andrés. On December 1, a DoD vessel also transported 130 MT of GoC-provided heavy duty equipment from Colombia’s mainland to affected islands to assist with GoC-implemented debris clean up and initial early recovery efforts.

The GoC has delivered food, tents, critical household items, and safe drinking water to affected households in Providencia via boat, and the Colombian Red Cross provided a water treatment unit that can process 175,000 liters of water per day, sufficient to cover all water needs on the island. The GoC National Disaster Risk Management Unit also recently allocated nearly $600,000 to support local authorities’ relief efforts to rebuild houses and repair damaged WASH infrastructure on the affected islands.


With USAID/BHA funding, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is providing food assistance and hygiene kits with items to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to affected households in Alta Verapaz and Izabal departments. CRS is also targeting 11,150 storm-affected people with multipurpose cash assistance, WASH support, and shelter assistance in the two heavily affected departments. USAID/BHA partner Save the Children has also pivoted existing programming to provide emergency food assistance, household items, and emergency cash transfers to nearly 620 households in collective shelters. Additionally, with USAID/BHA support, IFRC is providing hygiene items, delivering hygiene promotion messaging, and supporting improved access to safe drinking water.

GoG response operations—led by CONRED—had delivered nearly 1,200 MT of relief commodities and food assistance across the country as of November 26. The UN deployed a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team to assist with response coordination and information management, focused on Alta Verapaz and Izabal. At least 26 relief organizations are conducting response activities across the country, and humanitarian partners had delivered more than 324,800 liters of safe drinking water to affected people as of December 3, the UN reports. To address needs in Guatemala’s shelters, where overcrowding and the risk of COVID-19 transmission remain a concern, IOM has initiated an Integrated Shelter Registration System to coordinate with local authorities to assess conditions and develop appropriate response plans.


With USAID/BHA funding, ADRA and World Vision are distributing blankets, hygiene items, and kitchen sets to individuals residing in collective shelters. USAID/BHA partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) is delivering emergency food assistance to an initial 20,000 households, while several partners, including UNICEF, Global Communities, GOAL, and IFRC, are providing WASH support to people in shelters and affected communities. To meet immediate health needs, IFRC is providing health services, including first aid, psychosocial support, and technical assistance for community-based surveillance for diseases. UNICEF is also providing services to prevent GBV and violence against children, as well as to meetother protection needs. In addition, Global Communities, which has been implementing COVID-19 prevention and response activities in Honduras since July, is undertaking COVID-19 mitigation interventions in 59 shelters across Cortés. USAID/BHA partner GOAL is also providing technical assistance in emergency shelter management, as well as support for shelter repair.

The GoH deployed more than 50,000 first response staff and volunteers to conduct search and rescue operations and provide immediate relief assistance to affected populations, and COPECO worked with WFP to deliver pre-positioned emergency food assistance to the most affected communities on the coast of Honduras. An UNDAC team in Honduras is supporting coordination among various international relief actors, with assistance from the USAID/BHA-supported Americas Support Team, a group of urban search and rescue technical advisors from the Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire and Rescue Department. At least 29 different humanitarian organizations are conducting multi-sector response activities across the country, reaching nearly 337,700 people with WASH assistance and more than 257,700 people with food security and nutrition assistance as of December 2, according to the UN.


USAID/BHA is supporting UNICEF to provide emergency WASH services to approximately 13,500 people—including nearly 6,100 children—in heavily affected areas of the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region and Jinotega and Nueva Segovia departments. In addition, USAID/BHA is supporting UNICEF to reach 34,000 people in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region’s Prinzapolka, Puerto Cabezas, and Waspam municipalities with emergency and early recovery WASH assistance, as well as protection services—including psychosocial support, child-friendly spaces, and technical assistance to local authorities to address GBV risks—aimed to reach 13,000 people.

Following Hurricane Eta’s landfall, the Government of Nicaragua (GoN) mobilized military personnel, fire brigades, and Nicaraguan Red Cross teams to evacuate populations, provide medical care, deliver emergency assistance, and remove debris from blocked transportation routes. As of November 27, the GoN had distributed nearly 350,600 sheets of zinc roofing material in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region to assist communities with emergency shelter. In Prinzapolka, the Nicaraguan Red Cross provided food assistance, hygiene kits, and a water treatment plant and deployed a team to provide psychosocial support to affected populations; the Nicaraguan Red Cross also provided a water treatment plant to nearby Waspam. Additionally, public heath brigades had reached 120,000 people in affected areas with medical assistance as of November 23, the UN reports.