Samaritan's Purse has disaster specialists on the ground to care for Honduran families in the wake of Hurricane Eta and Iota.
Update (Nov. 19): Iota dumped heavy rain—one to three feet of it in certain areas—across Central America, including Honduras. Our team is safe, and we will be receiving patients again at the Emergency Field Hospital on Thursday. Distributions have also resumed. We continue to assess damage from Eta and Iota around San Pedro Sula in order to determine where to provide additional relief.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people now line the streets of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, after Hurricane Eta’s slow-moving rains triggered devastating flooding and landslides. Entire communities are left without access to shelter, clean water, and crucial medical care.
In the wake of this disaster, Samaritan’s Purse Canada has sent specialized Disaster Assistance Response staff to bring their expertise to this multifaceted response to the Central American nation: providing community water filtration systems, hygiene kits, shelter material, and an Emergency Field Hospital to help meet the growing needs of Honduran families.
“Families feel hopeless and they are experiencing a lot of distress due to the disaster of the pandemic,” said response team lead Susan Pineda. “Once they saw our group and they recognized the logo of Samaritan’s Purse, they said, ‘The hope of Christ is here’. Today, I have the opportunity as a Honduran to serve my people, to be able to not just bring physical aid, but the love of Christ.”
On Nov. 15, Samaritan’s Purse medical staff accepted the first patients at our Emergency Field Hospital. The outpatient clinic is providing critical care to families after Hurricane Eta devastated local hospitals and left many communities without access to basic medical care.
“Many people can’t go to the hospital at the moment because their cars were destroyed, and this tent is very close to many who don’t have much,” said Paola, a patient at the field hospital.
She came for a sprained ankle, a minor injury that was complicated by a lack of accessible treatment. But Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses saw her quickly and were able to provide instructions on how to properly care for her injury.
“My doctor was really nice and she told me not to worry about my sprained ankle and that it was actually very common,” Paola said. “Thank you for the great work you are doing and we really do appreciate it.”
A Full Circle of Hope
Hurricane Eta’s Category 4 winds made landfall along the coast of Nicaragua on Nov. 3. Then, several days of torrential rain caused devastation in that nation as well as in Honduras and Guatemala, killing dozens of people. Inland areas received as much as 15-35 inches of precipitation.
With our local partners, Samaritan’s Purse is providing first aid, potable water, blankets, and food to help survivors in Nicaragua. We are also moving to help repair homes and assess how to support families whose crops and livestock have been destroyed.
For Pastor Adonai Munoz and many others, the terrible storm brought back tragic reminders of 1998’s Hurricane Mitch. As a young boy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, Adonai witnessed Mitch’s devastation firsthand. Thousands lost their lives, homes, and livelihoods.
Yet, what he remembers most after the storm, was a small gift of hope packed in a red and green Operation Christmas Child shoebox. “I was a child when [Hurricane] Mitch came and I remember that Samaritan’s Purse brought the little boxes,” Adonai said. “With that, they were able to bless many children, including me.”
Inside eight-year-old Adonai’s shoebox gift was an American football, crayons, sweets, and a letter from a girl named Martha. Though he did not understand English, he knew the letter was filled with messages of hope and love—holding on to it for a number of years.
“I always dreamt of meeting people from Samaritan’s Purse,” Adonai said. Now, 22 years later, Samaritan’s Purse is helping Pastor Adonai provide critical relief to hurting members of his community.
As the pastor of La Iglesia de Dios de Profecia in the Villa Nueva sector, Adonai is seeing the firsthand devastation of Hurricane Eta on his congregation and the surrounding community. “Many lost their houses in various sectors of Villa Nueva. There is no potable water system. One of the most important needs is water,” Adonai said.
Adonai closed his church before the storm made landfall with the intention of using it as a relief center for impacted families. “We made the decision to close our service to make sure that our installation [could] be a center of collecting supplies—to collect clothes, food, water, and all that we need to help the people who were about to pass through this storm,” Adonai said. “Only the church can bring a message of hope.”
In addition to receiving hygiene kits, emergency shelter material, and personal water filtration units, Samaritan’s Purse installed a Water Treatment System at La Iglesia de Dios de Profecia to provide consistent potable water to hurting families.
“All the communities around here buy water, and, today, we have the opportunity to serve these people, providing free water for their families,” Adonai said. “Literally, the church today will not only share the water of life which is Jesus Christ, but also it will share water that quenches the natural thirst that we have as people.”
Pastor Adonai’s church is one of 13 local churches that Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with to provide critical relief to hurting Honduran families. And, for Adonai, it is a reminder of God’s provision and faithfulness—that what began as hope in a Samaritan’s Purse shoebox gift is now a fountain of hope for his community decades later.
“We can only celebrate as a church that God has designed for us divine connections that do not consist of anything of man but only of heaven coming to earth,” Adonai said. “We are celebrating what God is doing through Samaritan’s Purse. Simply using us as His medium to bless the people in need.”
“Just thank you, thank you, thank you, there is no other word to say to God.”
Please continue to pray for our teams in Honduras as they provide aid to hurting families in the Name of Jesus.