Crisis watch

Florentine, a young mother in Mozambique, who received assistance from CARE following drought and food shortages
18 Nov 2020

Central America – Hurricane Iota

flooded village in Honduras after storm Eta
A village in Cortés, Honduras, submerged by floods after the passage of tropical storm Eta

Hurricane Iota is expected to bring further devastation to vulnerable communities in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and other countries in the region which are still dealing with the aftermath of storm Eta.

More than 2 million people in the region have already been impacted by Eta, with Honduras experiencing the most severe impacts. The country remains in national red alert, with an estimated 20% of the population affected, many of whom are cut off from assistance. CARE Honduras Country Director Maite Matheu says:

People are still trapped and living on their roofs to escape the flood waters in some of the worst affected areas. Around 68 communities remain entirely cut off, and homes, bridges and other key infrastructure have been destroyed, as well as large numbers of livestock killed.

María Magdalena Rivera Villatoro is a tilapia farmer in the country’s northeastern region. Eta caused the river where they farm to overflow, destroying her family’s livelihood. She says:

When the storm came, we couldn’t do anything. We just saw how it destroyed everything we had worked so hard for … it is really painful.

CARE Honduras is focusing its emergency response efforts on providing food, shelter, essential items like blankets, tarps and kitchen kits, water and sanitation support, and protection services to particularly vulnerable groups such as women and girls, who now find themselves in cramped communal shelters.

12 Nov 2020

Philippines – Typhoon Vamco

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, the Philippines was hit by another typhoon named Vamco (locally known as Ulysses). Typhoon Vamco battered Metro Manila and the same provinces hit by typhoon Goni (Catanduanes, Albay, and Camarines Sur in the Bicol Region).

The typhoon caused flash floods in several parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. More than 400,000 families have been affected, with damage reported to more than 140,000 homes in Bicol, Calabarzon, and Mimaropa regions. Significant damage is also reported to agricultural land and resources, affecting the livelihoods of farmers and fisherfolks.

CARE and partners are on the ground, conducting local assessments and coordination with the UN, other organisations, and local government units on damages and needs of affected populations. Our response will focus on provision of multi-purpose cash transfers in most areas, as well as food, shelter and non-food items in some isolated areas. In Manila, CARE Philippines is in touch with a partner in Metro Manila and is planning an initial response.

10 Nov 2020

Central America – Storm Eta

Storm Eta has wreaked havoc across Central America destroying crops and food stocks for millions already suffering from food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 2 million people are displaced or have had their crops, food stocks and livelihoods destroyed. According to Catalina Vargas, Regional Humanitarian Manager for CARE in Latin America and the Caribbean:

In Guatemala and Honduras around 4.5 million people were already suffering from hunger, food shortages and high prices that has been exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns. With tropical storm Eta coming on top of this, I really don’t know how millions of Central Americans will cope going into 2021.

Maite Matheu, CARE Honduras Country Director, says:

In Honduras, people are still trapped and living up on their roofs to escape the flood waters in some of the worst affected areas. Around 68 communities remain entirely cut off and homes, bridges and other key infrastructure has been destroyed, and well as large numbers of livestock killed.

CARE and our partners have identified more than 10,000 people in remote areas who are now living in terrible conditions; in makeshift shelters without water supply for drinking or washing and no source of food.

The worst hit areas – Cortés, Yoro, Atlántida, Colón – are extremely densely populated, which is why we are seeing such high numbers of people affected.

CARE Honduras is focusing its emergency response efforts on providing food, shelter and protection services to particularly vulnerable groups such as women and girls, who now find themselves in cramped communal shelters.

In Guatemala, “thousands of homes and crops have been damaged” says CARE Guatemala Country Director Rogelia Soto:

Some of the worst affected areas are not accessible, with whole communities been cut off as a result of landslides, on top of the flooding. The numbers of people affected are increasing daily and many people are still missing.

CARE Guatemala is carrying out a needs assessment and will support people with water and food packages and hygiene kits alongside local organisations working in the area.

6 Nov 2020

Philippines – Typhoon Goni

Typhoon Goni – 2020’s strongest typhoon so far in the Philippines – has left devastation across 12 regions, killing 16 people, affecting over 2 million people, destroying infrastructure and houses, and damaging crops.

More than 500,000 individuals are displaced and are currently in evacuation centres in the Bicol region. As of 2 November, there were more than 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Bicol. With limited spaces in evacuation centres, the risk of contracting the virus is very high.

Primary needs of the displaced population now are shelter kits, blankets, clothing, face masks, food, and water. CARE and partners are working closely with local government units to ensure support to vulnerable sectors, women, and girls affected by Typhoon Goni. CARE Philippines Emergency Coordinator Jerome Lanit says:

CARE currently has assessment teams on the ground who are also providing emergency food parcels, as we look to see what the other major needs are. Our teams in Albay were able to access Tabaco – an area that has been totally shut off to NGOs until now, and we have found a huge amount of need there, especially amongst the indigenous communities.

This morning our teams are heading to Catanduanes, which is an isolated island, and has been the most heavily affected province. Huge numbers of houses, markets and hospitals have been destroyed and the food supply is dwindling, with the eight months of COVID-19 lockdown meaning government supplies are also scarce, especially to a small island such as Catanduanes. This means international aid is more important now than ever.

CARE is planning to respond with multi-purpose cash distributions, emergency shelter support and water and sanitation and other core relief items. In Catanduanes, teams are also likely to provide food as stocks are worryingly low on the island with poor access for new supplies to come in. Lanit adds:

At the moment we are obviously operating in an even more challenging environment as we are working within COVID-19 travel protocols and responding to this new need, while making sure not to worsen the spread of COVID-19 amongst communities and providing key items like face masks and hand sanitiser in our distributions. So, this year’s typhoon season response is especially challenging.

5 Nov 2020

Lebanon – Beirut Port Explosion response

A gender analysis conducted jointly with UN Women and ABAAD has found increasing vulnerabilities among women. 51 percent of the affected population is identified as female-headed households and 8 percent as elderly women living alone. Along with other health services, first aid is an urgent need for women and marginalised groups. Protection risks including increased risk of gender-based violence, in addition to the mental health impact from the experience of losing one’s home and safe space, goes beyond the infrastructural damage.

The analysis also found high levels of food insecurity: 11 percent of the Lebanese and 42 percent of migrant workers reported experiencing hunger or thirst. Coping mechanisms with the current situation – particularly reported among youth and refugees – is by preparing to leave the country. Last month 11 people, including two children under the age of 2, died at sea while attempting to reach the island of Cyprus from northern Lebanon. One woman in her 30s told CARE: “If a boat leaves tomorrow, and I have the chance to take it, I will go without hesitation.”

CARE Lebanon has to date reached 14,113 people through food and hygiene kits distributions and protection services. Rehabilitation, with winter approaching, remains one of the main areas of ongoing work and 95 percent of the shelter needs of the affected population are yet to be covered.