Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
The zig-zag path of Hurricane Eta across Central America and the Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane Eta Batters Mainland Honduras Leaving Disaster on Scale with Mitch

Hurricane Eta battered Bay Islands with heavy winds and rain causing island wide loss of electricity, localized landslides and internet and cell phone outages on November 3 and 4. Still, the island department feared much better than most of mainland Honduras that suffered loss of life and damage to infrastructure unparalleled since 1998 hurricane Mitch.

When the wind and rain subsided Roatanians swiftly reached out with help to their compatriots in need. Many groups including Little Friends Foundation, Seventh Day Adventist Church collected emergency items and shipped to the mainlanders in need. Bay Islands Petroleum offered free shipping of the aid to Puerto Cortes.

Roatanians swiftly reached out with help to their compatriots in need.

When Hurricane Eta, the 29th hurricane of the 2020 season, approached Misquito coast of Nicaragua its strength increased quickly from category one to category four or like some sources report five. On November 3 Eta made landfall near Nicaraguan town of Puerto Cabezas and begun affecting central Honduras dumping as much as three feet of rain, life-threatening amounts of water that filled up dams, rivers and flooded valleys.

Honduran government was not only unprepared for the disaster, its delayed calls for evacuating areas at risk of flooding causing confusion and loss of life. While Honduran government forbid Easter celebrations in April citing Covid-19 fears, it made every effort to encourage Hondurans to celebrate week of Francisco Morazan, of November 1-7 and to travel en masse around the country. As Hurricane Eta was already ravishing Nicaragua, at 8 pm on Monday, November 2, Honduran government called that the “vacations should be done responsibly.” At 10 pm on Monday November 2, Honduran government finally cancelled the Morazanic Week celebrations, but by that time the national disaster was already unfolding.

On Tuesday, November 3 Tela, Ceiba, Olanchito and southern portion of Sula Valley experienced floods. On Wednesday, November 4 water rushed into Sula Valley flooding over a hundred thousand homes. The levies around canal Maya in La Lima municipality gave way to water and thousands of people were trapped on roofs of their homes and on bridges. On Thursday, 5th, the Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) ordered a “mandatory evacuation of population living in flood areas of Ulua river.” This was too little, too late. While government currently reports 68 dead, many bodies have not yet been found.

Honduran government finally cancelled the Morazanic Week celebrations, but by that time the national disaster was already unfolding.

Almost every department in Honduras has been hit hard with Honduras’ staple coffee and banana crops damaged or destroyed. “Eighty percent of Copán Ruinas road network has been damaged, almost all of its agricultural production – corn, beans, and vegetable crops – was destroyed,” wrote Sandra Guerra of Copan Ruinas. “Coffee growers are also in danger of losing this year’s coffee crop.”

Honduran government estimates the economic loss for the country equivalent to $8 billion, or 33% of its GDP. 300,000 Honduran homes were flooded and over a million Hondurans had to evacuate their homes almost in every Honduran department.