El Niño dries up water in Honduras

Story by Victor Martinez

Photos by Israel Ortega Carcamo

Although there is no official estimate, it is expected that about 170,000 children under 5 are facing malnutrition and disease due to the lack of clean water in Honduras.

So far this year, El Niño has affected 1.4 million Hondurans, or 16 percent of the total population, according to the Permanent Commission of Contingencies (COPECO).

"The drought is so intense in southern Honduras that surface water in many places are deepening and groundwater reserves are depleted at a faster rate," said Javier Mayorga, Project Coordinator of Water and Sanitation World Vision Honduras .

Without enough water, children are susceptible to disease and both children and their mothers spend more time fetching water from distant sources.

In some communities, near Choluteca, in southern Honduras, natural water sources have almost dried-up completely, creating a crisis that is affecting children and their families, animals and eventually the land, which is losing some of its production potential. The drought is also increasing the demand for health services due to the upsurge in cases of dengue, chikungunya, diarrhoea and the Zika virus.