6 October 2015 - Christian Aid has released £75,000 to its partner organisations in Honduras to deliver emergency food rations to more than 1,200 families in the south of the country, who have been affected by a severe drought.
The Honduran President has declared a national emergency and reports estimate that 2.5 million people across Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala in Central America have been affected by the drought, with around 1.2 million people in need of urgent assistance.
The drought is a result of a serious decline in rainfall since June last year – between 50 to 75% decrease in Honduras alone - which has led to severe crop losses. In particular maize and bean crops, the staple foods for most rural and poor families, have been decimated resulting in rapid price increases for the limited stock available, restricting people’s ability to buy food.
This year’s dry season (from October to February) is expected to be particularly acute because of the effects of El Nino - a weather pattern caused by temperature rises in the Pacific Ocean, which leads to dry weather in some parts of the world and causes floods in others – which is predicted to be the strongest on record. Along with the recent coffee rust disease, which has been attacking coffee plants since 2012, leading to weak harvests and a reduction in the demand for labour, the situation is grave for tens of thousands of Hondurans who rely on smallholder farming or labouring to earn a living.
Sandra Mendoza, Christian Aid programme officer in Honduras, said: “The situation has been deteriorating for some time now and is affecting 146 of the 298 municipalities here. Honduras is still reeling from the drought last year and people just did not have a chance to build up their food stocks in order to cope with this prolonged period of drought.
“Families are in desperate need of food. We are working with our local partner organisations CDH and ADEPES to deliver the packages, which include rice, sugar, beans, maize and salt, enough to last a household at least three weeks. In the long-term we have ongoing programs focusing on building resilience in the communities, offering training on Early Warning Systems, diversifying crops and different techniques to collect water, and promoting the use of drought-resistant seeds”.
Christian Aid is working with the ACT Alliance in Honduras. The relief work is financed by the Start Fund, administered by the Start Network, a consortium of 24 leading NGOs, including Christian Aid, working together to strengthen the humanitarian aid system with rapid support where necessary. The fund was launched in 2014 with contributions from the UK Department for International Development, Irish Aid and latterly the Dutch government.
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Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org
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