Silent Emergencies: Flooding in Central America
I recently returned to my university for a weekend, and what I found there surprised me so much I decided to make it the topic of my next blog.
A lot of my friends wanted to know what I had been doing here at Save the Children, and I told them much the same as I wrote in my first blog, and gave some examples.
I was shocked that many people had no idea of some of the disasters I was taking about- the extensive flooding in Central America for example!
Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico are experiencing severe flooding affecting more than a million people in total.
The flooding has been caused by a tropical depression- a weather system which causes a lot of rain. The problem with a depression, as opposed to a typhoon or a tsunami, is that it is not very dramatic.
There are no shocking videos like of buildings being washed away in a matter of minutes in Japan, or flying debris in hurricanes.
It is less interesting to the media, or to people like us, wrapped up in our own lives, submitting coursework like my peers, planning Christmas or enjoying some November sunshine on another continent.
For the 1.2million people affected this is no consolation. Thousands of hectares of farmland are flooded or rinsed of crops, leaving people with reduced food for the coming winter and no source of sustenance for their livelihoods.
Schools are damaged so childrens’ education is affected, and damaged or flooded hospitals reduce access to healthcare just when, for some, it is needed most. Now that the flood waters are beginning to subside, there are further concerns.
Helping tens of thousands
Soft, saturated soil provides little support for highways and bridges, and provides a poor bed for crops and new seeds to grow in. Diseases breed in the dirty water and shelter is a concern for many with winter not far away.
Nobody is really to blame for the lack of knowledge about such events. Fortunately, organisations such as Save the Children are specially prepared, with our own emergency fund, so that we can at least provide some help to the worst affected.
So far we have helped around 41,000 men, women and children in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. We are distributing rations of food and clear water and hygiene kits, besides other essential aid to affected communities.
If you’d like to contribute to Save the Children Emergency Fund, you can donate online or call +44 (0)20 7012 6400