Thousands of children and families stranded in shelters this Christmas, in the aftermath of hurricanes Iota and Eta

  • 3 out of every 10 children in shelters were separated from their families.
  • Prolonged stays in shelters increases risks of COVID-19 infections.
  • World Vision requires US$16 million to provide humanitarian aid to families who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Less than one week ahead of Christmas, tens of thousands of children and their families in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala remain in shelters, following the aftermath of hurricanes Eta and Iota, in November. Iota-a powerful category 5 and last of an unusually active hurricane season-left more than 2 million people homeless in Central America, a region already affected by poverty and violence.

World Vision recently interviewed boys and girls in temporary shelters in Honduras. Our survey found that, three out of every 10 were separated from their families during evacuations and 44% said that, if they could change something in their current situation, it would be having more food. 

Meanwhile, eight out of every 10 said they were happy being in the shelter. “These children are resilient with the capacity to flourish even in the midst of adversity,”said Anna Grellert, Regional Specialist in Child Protection for World Vision Latin America and the Caribbean.

Over the past month, World Vision has reached 352,613 people through its assistance in sectors such a child protection (especially psychosocial support), water, sanitation  and hygiene(WASH), shelter, food security and livelihoods.

“Our work in shelters focuses on ensuring the protection and psychosocial well-being of children and their families. They are coping with a traumatic event that stripped them away them from their belongings and their plans for life. Our assistance also includes access to food, clean water and health. We have designed special protocols that enable us to provide psychological first aid, while ensuring we, at the same time, mitigate and prevent the risks of COVID-19 infections, as beneficiaries are in crowded spaces,” explained Paola Avello, Regional Emergency Advisor.

Play is essential for emotional and psychological health of children. The majority (82%) of surveyed children in shelters said that playing is what makes them happier. They mentioned also that when sad, their mothers (65%) are their key figures who provide support and hope.

“A humanitarian response that will guarantee the protection of children and families. The appalling devastation and the needs of those affected, requires at least US$16.4 million,” said José Nelson Chavez, Regional Emergency Advisor for World Vision Latin America. “There are tens of thousands of homeless people, entire families and communities, who have lost their crops and livelihoods and can no longer generate income. The international community must remember people impacted by these natural disasters. These people are now who are at risk of hunger and are becoming ill as they struggle to survive in the vulnerable conditions they are being forced to live in, in the so-called Central American dry corridor," he added. To help Central American families you can donate and support here:

World Vision is calling on the public, cooperation agencies, faith based organisations and businesses to collaborate in response to the needs of those impacted, and also thanks companies such as Walmart and Cemaco, in Guatemala, and agencies such as UNICEF and USAID who have already provided much needed support. “Without a further coordinated response, millions are at risk of hunger and poverty – and this could lead to increased violence in a region that is already volatile,” ended Chavez.



Editor Notes:

For further information or to organise and interview please contact:

Mishelle Mitchell, Regional Director of Communications World Vision Latin America +506 88175727

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.