Hurricanes Eta and Iota Three Months Later: Food For The Poor Assists Farmers Who Lost Everything
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2021) Farmers in Central America who lost their crops after back-to-back hurricanes in November are getting a second chance at seeing their fields come to life, thanks to generous Food For The Poor donors.
In Honduras, about 80 percent of the crops were destroyed by the catastrophic Category 4 storms, which unleashed winds of 150 mph, torrential rains, flooding and landslides.
The situation is so dire for some families in Honduras that people are beginning to leave the country to seek a better life for themselves elsewhere.
The hurricanes added to the woes of communities already grappling with the loss of jobs brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation isn't much better in Nicaragua, where Hurricanes Eta and Iota made landfall on the country's Caribbean coast within a span of two weeks. In addition to losing their livelihoods and income, farmers in Nicaragua also lost their main source of food to feed their families.
The charity is working with CEPUDO, its longtime in-country partner in Honduras, to assist farmers with two avocado projects in Ocotepeque and La Campa, a bean project in El Medio Guire, a plantain project in Choloma, and a cocoa bean project in Marcala, all of which were severely damaged or destroyed by the storms.
The goal is not only to restore the projects but help the farmers increase the production of their crops, providing an even bigger boost to their families and communities. About 1,120 families will benefit.
"Families in Central America were already hurting because of COVID-19 and then on top of that they lost their crops," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine.
"We continue to do everything we can to provide aid to these families," he added. "Our goal is to provide them with the tools and training necessary to get back on their feet, so they can support their families and their communities, and put them back on a path toward sustainability."
Fall is typically the rainy season in Central America, when many farmers plant their crops. In Nicaragua, there are three planting cycles per year, with the last one being disrupted by the hurricanes.
Before the hurricanes, the charity worked with in-country partner American Nicaraguan Foundation (ANF) to help bean farmers increase their yields and income, and guarantee the purchase of their products at a higher price.
Through FFTP's From Seeds to Smiles project, each farmer donated a 100-pound sack of beans back to ANF, which in turn distributed them through the organization's feeding programs. This fed about 40,000, including 31,000 children under the age of 12. But the hurricanes wiped out the bean crops.
In Nicaragua, the charity's donors are assisting farmers in Estelí, Nueva Segovia and Madriz who lost all or most of their crops due to landslides and flooding.
One project is providing seeds, tools and products such as fertilizers and insecticides to 200 bean farmers in addition to training and technical assistance. Up to 1,000 people are expected to benefit from the nearly 500 acres of beans that will be planted.
Families are grateful they were able to plant again after losing 80 percent of their beans due to the hurricanes.
Enrique Blandino said the project has given his family a new opportunity to continue working.
"Our beans rotted on the ground due to the excessive water," he said. "Now we are hopeful to see these new plants grow."
Another 1,000 farming families are receiving plantings and assistance for one year in a second project.
A third project will help 150 farmers grow vegetables to ensure their needs are met during the first half of 2021.
"We're so grateful to our donors for making all of this work possible and especially to our trusted partners on the ground in the countries," Raine said. "It's a whole different thing to be right there. God bless everyone who is helping the tens of thousands of families get back on their feet after these terrible storms. The long-term recovery is in front of us and there is still much to do."
Here is a video about Food For The Poor's response to the hurricanes in Central America: https://youtu.be/XFXH-d622Dk
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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