Bethy and her husband Gustavo have been living on the streets of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for weeks. Hurricane Eta’s heavy rains flooded their home, forcing them to seek temporary refuge elsewhere.
“It was so scary,” Gustavo said. “We had to set an alarm every 25 minutes to wake up and see what the water was doing. We lost a lot of things.”
Their family is one of thousands who remain displaced by Eta’s destructive power. With their two children, the couple have crafted a temporary shelter on the side of the road, and continue to patiently wait to return home and salvage anything that they can.
“We went out to the streets and we built a tent and we have been there since Eta came. Right now, we want to go back to our house when everything is dry,” Gustavo said.
Sadly, it’s not gotten any drier after Eta. Hurricane Iota, also a category 4 storm, followed up quickly, devastating the same communities in northern Honduras that had little, if anything, more to lose.
With the streets still flooded and access to clean water and medical care difficult to come by, the family recently visited the newly opened Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital to receive vitamins and treatment for head pain likely caused by dehydration. Our medical facility, along with additional relief supplies, was airlifted to Honduras on Nov. 11 in the wake of the first hurricane. Then as Iota hit, operations were temporarily paused, but had resumed by the time Bethy and Gustavo arrived seeking help.
Bethy is also pregnant with their third child and wanted to ensure that the stress and difficult conditions following the storm had not impacted the baby.
Samaritan’s Purse doctor Mark Agness used a mobile ultrasound machine to show Bethy and Gustavo their baby for the first time. The machine was something that he had been recently gifted and felt that he should take with him as he served in Honduras. “We found the fetal heartbeat and were able to show that to her visually on the screen. She was overjoyed,” Dr. Mark said.
The family’s joy radiated throughout the patient care tent and provided a moment of hope to others who have been suffering in this difficult time. “We were able to show them this new life that they were going to be bringing into the world. It was heartwarming for them but also affirming to us that we are in the right place,” he added.
Additionally, the couple’s strong faith in God shone brightly to those around them in the midst of their challenging circumstances. “When God does things, He knows why He is doing it and He has a purpose for it,” Bethy said.
She and Gustavo, like many Hondurans, are grateful to Samaritan’s Purse medical staff for providing them with medical care and a glimmer of hope.
“Thank you for being here to bless us,” Bethy said. “We need this right now; we are really thankful for that. May God bless you.”
“Thank you for being here to bless us. We need this right now.”
In the coming weeks, Samaritan’s Purse will continue providing critical medical care to communities cut off by flooding. A mobile medical team will travel to isolated areas to meet the needs of families impacted by the storms.
Gloria was the last of her family to leave their home as floodwaters from Hurricane Eta invaded her community. She lost everything in the storm, seeking shelter at Iglesia Evangelica Centroamericana in San Pedro Sula. “I lived this during [Hurricane] Mitch but this storm was stronger,” Gloria said.
Marley Hernandez, pastor of Iglesia Evangelica Centroamericana where Gloria’s family is staying, is familiar with the hope brought to children when receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. Now, he is thankful to once again partner with Samaritan’s Purse in distributing boxes of a different kind.
Families received a hygiene kit packed with basic necessities to help them recover as they return home. “The experience is the same giving a shoebox as giving a hygiene kit,” Marley said. “There’s a smile of satisfaction and joy and the hope of knowing that that little box means that somebody loves them.”
After losing so much, items like those found in a hygiene kit are life-changing to hurting Honduran families. “There’s toilet paper, soap, gel, towels, and toothbrushes; it’s very good,” Gloria said. “It makes me very happy.”
Samaritan’s Purse continues to assess the needs of hurting communities across Honduras, ramping up the response to distribute additional hygiene kits and emergency shelter materials to families in need. Along with the mobile medical care, teams will distribute aid to families in communities isolated by flooding—continuing to partner with the local church to remind them that God loves them and they are not forgotten.
“Just that little box they identify with the love of Christ,” Marley said. “Even if it’s just a little bit out of all the things that they need, that’s just enough to give them more hope.”
Please continue to pray for our teams in Honduras as they continue to aid families as they endure the devastation inflicted by back-to-back hurricanes.
Your gift will enable Samaritan's Purse to provide desperately-needed physical and spiritual relief to families in hard-hit areas devastated by Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota.