More than a month after two hurricanes wreaked havoc in Honduras, hundreds of thousands of people displaced by massive flooding and landslides are still struggling to cope, surviving with little or no outside assistance.
But locals say a strong sense of solidarity is one of the few things that keeps families displaced – now living in makeshift campsites and overcrowded communal shelters.
Communities have regrouped to cross Eta and Iota, which hit Central America in November, and now they are trying to clean up damaged homes.
A few kilometers from the city of La Lima – one of the worst affected areas in Honduras – Fredy Alexis Morataya Vasquez, 25, said he didn’t think he would survive the dramatic floods that nearly submerged his village .
“I didn’t think we would survive, but the best experience during this time was that our community supported each other – we saved each other,” Morataya Vasquez said.
“Thank goodness we have warriors who have saved lives. We survive because we are together and we help each other. This time is not to fight, but to unite more.
The storms have exacerbated an existing humanitarian crisis in the region.
In April 2020, the United Nations reported that 5.2 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala due to years of chronic and extreme violence, displacement, food insecurity and adverse effects of climate change.
COVID-19 lockdowns have since crippled local economies and health systems across Central America, and new caravans of migrants to North America are being staged on social media as many people fail see no other option but to flee.
The UN estimated in mid-December that in Honduras alone, more than 85,000 homes were damaged and 6,000 completely destroyed as a result of the storms.