Flash Appeal for Honduras 2008
Since 13 October Honduras has been affected by heavy rainfall due to Tropical Depression 16, with a low depression current accompanied by a swell in the Pacific coast. An erratic tropical depression which remained in Honduras for approximately 15 days, Tropical Depression 16 produced floods in 17 of the country’s 18 departments. Precipitation was reported to have doubled the historical median for the entire month October in just the first half of this month. This excess of precipitation caused rivers to leave their natural courses whilst, worsening matters, Tropical Depression 43 moved slowly across the eastern side of the country from 23 to 25 October maintaining humid and unstable weather over much of the territory.
The resulting flooding and landslides have caused loss of life and injuries, and have affected 271,179 people through extensive damage or loss of shelter and/or livelihoods. Of this total number, 57,681 people have been classed by the authorities as severely affected, meaning they have suffered a total loss of shelter and livelihoods, and require immediate humanitarian assistance. Some 72,085 hectares of crops have been lost, and extensive damage was sustained to public infrastructure.
The south and west of the country, which has some of the poorest economic, health and nutrition indicators, has been particularly hard hit. Poor and isolated communities are especially affected, with the most vulnerable having lost their livelihoods and income and their survival conditions will remain precarious for several months. Unless immediate measures are implemented to overcome the impact of this disaster, extreme poverty and acute malnutrition will increase, as will the Government’s challenge in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
On 19 October, the President of the Republic issued National Decree No. 029-2009 declaring a State of Emergency. The decree ordered Ministries and specialised institutions belonging to the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) to immediately take necessary remedial actions, with funds from the national budget and the international community, and to ensure that search and rescue operations continue in order to reach those still stranded and needing assistance. The Decree assigned the responsibility for coordination of international cooperation to the Ministry of Technical and External Cooperation (SETCO) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From the moment of the first alerts, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, with other members of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and partners, offered support to the response efforts, and to carrying out the necessary coordination of the response. An Inter-Agency Emergency Response Plan is being implemented and sectoral groups have been activated for water and sanitation, shelter, health, food security and nutrition, early recovery, and telecommunications and logistics. The United Nations Country Team, UN Disaster Management Team, and UN Emergency Team were all activated to assist in coordinating the international response. To support these actions a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Mission was requested and arrived on 22 October.
In coordination with the Honduras Government, and based on the reports and assessments of official sources, the United Nations System and other partners, this flash appeal requests $17,086,986for emergency relief projects. During the first weeks, the priority will be given to life-saving and life-sustaining activities to support the 271,179 affected people in terms of basic needs: food assistance, emergency logistics, shelter, health, water and sanitation, and early recovery plus coordination of assistance and definition of the most immediate needs for the next weeks and months. A Central Emergency Response Fund application has also been prepared.
The activities described in the document reflect the coherent response of UN agencies and NGOs in coordination with the Honduras Government and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to provide immediate and early recovery assistance. The Appeal will be updated and revised within a month to reflect new needs as the situation evolves and as better assessments become available. The international donor community is hereby asked to provide a quick and generous response in order to enable this effort to succeed.