Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed two grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to assist the hurricane relief work of partner organizations in Central America. The grants respond to needs following two hurricanes that have hit Central America this month, Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua on Nov. 16 as a category 4 storm and traveled through Central America for three days dumping heavy rain and causing widespread flooding and landslides, with Honduras taking the brunt of the storm. Just two weeks previously, Hurricane Eta made landfall on Nov. 3 causing extensive flooding and mudslides that damaged roads, destroyed bridges, and isolated entire regions of Central America. The people most affected by the storms were already dealing with high unemployment, food insecurity, and hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A grant of $25,000 has been designated to support hurricane relief programing in Honduras by Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG). This nonprofit humanitarian and development organization has connections to the Church of the Brethren and is led by church member Chet Thomas. After Hurricane Eta, PAG quickly organized a relief program providing 8,500 family food bags (for a week of provisions), used clothing, mattresses, health kits, blankets, shoes, and family hygiene kits to 50 communities before hurricane Iota struck. A Nov. 18 update from PAG reported that as staff waited for roads to open, they were putting together additional family food bags and health kits. PAG’s priorities are to provide food for those who have been displaced and lost their homes and to repair community water systems, restoring the availability of potable water. This initial grant also will support PAG’s work to develop a longer term recovery plan.
“The government estimates that half of the 9 million people in Honduras have been directly affected by these two hurricanes,” said Thomas. “Priority right now is food for those have been displaced and lost their homes. More than 600 shelters over the entire country contain tens of thousands of displaced families and all will need food and some kind of shelter in order to return to their communities. Another big priority for us is the repair of hundreds of community water systems as food and potable water are the first needs. We hope to help those farmers who lost their grain crops to replant at least an acre of corn, beans, or vegetables.”
A grant of $10,000 supports the Church World Service (CWS) response to the hurricanes in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. CWS has long-term partners in the three countries. Its response will focus on providing food and hygiene kits for families in six communities in Nicaragua, as well as recreational activities for children in shelters; supporting families and individuals in Honduras with food kits, hygiene kits, and psychosocial support; and providing aid to at-risk families in Guatemala who have an incarcerated parent(s) and supporting penitentiary guards who lost their homes in the storm. Additional grants are anticipated to support the long-term recovery programs to be developed by CWS in coming months.
Give to the Emergency Disaster Fund to support Brethren Disaster Ministries and the work of disaster relief in Central America and elsewhere. Go to www.brethren.org/edf.
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