Situation Report: Hurricane Eta in Central America

November 6, 2020

Appeal Code: 628M


Hurricane Eta hit Nicaragua on Tuesday, November 3, as a Category 4 storm. The Washington Post reports, “Hurricane Eta slammed into Nicaragua with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph on Tuesday, but the monstrous hurricane was even stronger Monday evening, when satellite data suggested that the storm contained 190 mph winds near its core. If this were true, that would have made Hurricane Eta one of the strongest storms on record in the North Atlantic Ocean basin.”

As of November 5, The Guardian reported that at least 50 people died in Guatemala as a result of the storm and the deadly landslides it triggered. The mayor of San Cristobal Verapaz, where the landslide occurred, and the relief brigades indicated that the death toll could be up to 150 people. More than 300,000 people across Central America had been displaced from their homes.

With support from CWS and Growing Hope Globally, our partner Accion Medica Cristiana has long supported indigenous families along the Rio Coco, which forms the border between Nicaragua and Honduras. Through this program, farmers are adopting new agricultural practices that improve their harvests, and parents of young children are finding new ways to improve their children’s’ health and nutrition. These communities were among those lashed by Eta’s winds and rain, leaving many people displaced and in need of support to recover and move forward. AMC reports that 5,530 people have been evacuated and are in emergency shelters in the affected areas in Waspam, Rio Coco and neighboring municipalities.

CWS Response

Thousands of people are living in temporary shelters in the areas of Nicaragua where CWS and our partners work. They need basic supplies such as mosquito nets, hygiene supplies, blankets, water containers and food. The volunteers who are coordinating response efforts also need rubber boots and waterproof gear as they navigate flooded communities. Masks and alcohol gel should also be included to prevent outbreaks of Covid-19 among displaced families and humanitarian workers.

CWS will support Accion Medica Cristiana’s rapid response efforts, which are already underway. AMC has been our partner along the Rio Coco for years and is a trusted and effective community organization. Their team has been involved in immediate relief and recovery efforts, and CWS support will enable them to expand their response to meet these needs.

In Guatemala, we are supporting another of our trusted local partners. Colectivo Artesana is a member of Plataforma NNAPES, the CWS-supported regional platform focused on supporting children and families of incarcerated parents across Latin America and the Caribbean. Our support to Colectivo Artesana will help them provide clothing, blankets, shoes, food, hygiene supplies and first aid kits to families in two of the hardest hit departments of Guatemala. These families have female relatives in prison and may be overlooked in the larger relief effort in the area.

How to Help

Financial support is critical in enabling us to respond immediately and effectively. Donations can be made online at or by mailing a check to Church World Service (P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515). Please designate it to Hurricane Eta.