UNICEF warns of hurricane health crisis in Central America

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Unicef ​​considered that it is essential to avoid health crisis in Central America, which is added to that of COVID-19, due to the lack of access to drinking water for thousands of people after the passage of two powerful hurricanes, and requested that 46.2 million dollars be urgently allocated to serve more than 640,000 affected.

Many families who have lost everything, first because of the fury of Hurricane Eta and then because of Iota, do not have access to drinking waterBoth in their devastated communities, where there are stagnant waters after the storm, and in the shelters to which they have been taken, Unicef ​​Regional Communications Chief Laurent Duvillier told EFE.

Very high risk

“If there is stagnant water but no drinking water, the risk that we will have a new outbreak that adds to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is, it would be a triple storm: the hurricane, the covid and new outbreaks of diseases. It is what we have to avoid, a triple storm, “said the UN official.

Already the “first cases of malaria and hepatitis they have been reported in various shelters, which shows the “health risk,” Duvillier added.

“The children and adolescents who survived both hurricanes they are now at risk of dying from waterborne diseases and other infectious diseases, “Unicef ​​regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Bernt Aasen, said in a statement.

Thousands of evacuees

Thousands of people remain in shelters after the passage of Eta and Iota, which left at least two hundreds of dead, disappearances and serious damage to infrastructure and agriculture in the countries of Central America, a historically poor region already economically and socially depressed by the new coronavirus pandemic.

Unicef said this Thursday that some 4.6 million people, including 1.8 million minors, were affected in Central America by Eta, which left “immense needs and which will most likely continue to increase after Iota,” the official of this agency said. the ONU.

Hence the “urgent” need that Unicef ​​has to obtain 42.6 million dollars “to cover the humanitarian needs more criticism from more than 646,000 people, including 327,000 children, repeatedly affected by floods and landslides in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize. “

Basic services

The resources will be used to carry vital supplies and basic services in shelters and communities in the most affected areas in those four countries, the UN body said in a statement.

The $ 42.6 million “is just an initial figure, because what we do see is that our teams on the ground are still discovering more and more needs. totally disconnected zones“said the UN official.

“At the moment the resources we have to provide humanitarian assistance, and if we don’t do it quickly, there are children who run the risk of dying from preventable diseases and that would be a triple storm, “he warned.

International aid

Duvillier appealed to “the Latin American diaspora in the US and Europe “to support UNICEF with the” guarantee that the money goes to those most in need, especially children and mothers, who are seen as the most needy and vulnerable at the moment.

Also the private sector, which can play a very important role not so much in logistical and material donationsBecause in the end it costs more to mobilize and the most efficient thing is to provide assistance that allows us to buy what is needed in the countries to help the most affected and affected families.

Two weeks ago, UNICEF teams and their partners in Central America immediately began delivering vital supplies and humanitarian support to the neediest families in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belizesaid the agency.

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