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Honduras' hurricane losses total $1.9 billion, far below government estimate, U.N. says

The impacts of the two storms are "devastating," the U.N. report says. At the humanitarian level, more than 4 million people are affected, with 2.5 million in need.
Image: FILE PHOTO: A woman walks among debris on a bridge over the Chamelecon river after the passage of Storm Eta, in Pimienta
People walk among debris on a bridge over the Chamelecon river after the passage of Hurricane Eta in Pimienta, Honduras, on Nov. 6, 2020.Jorge Cabrera / Reuters file

TEGUCIGALPA - Hurricanes Eta and Iota have caused about 45.7 billion lempiras—about $1.9 billion— in damages and losses in Honduras, according to the United Nations economic commission for the region, a far lower estimate than the government’s figure of $10 billion lempiras.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said it conducted the evaluation of losses and damages at the request of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and that it was assisted by the government, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IBD).

Honduras Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales said on Dec. 14 that the hurricanes, which hit within two weeks of each other last month, bringing disastrous flooding to much of Central America and hitting Honduras particularly hard, caused about $10 billion in damages.

Rosales called for international support in the aftermath of the storms.

“The impacts of the two storms in Honduras have been devastating both in social and economic terms. At the humanitarian level there are more than 4 million people affected with 2.5 million people in need. There are 92,000 people in shelters and 62,000 houses affected,” ECLAC said in a report.

The Honduran president has called the back-to-back storms the worst disaster to ever hit Honduras. They were not as deadly as Hurricane Mitch, which in 1998 killed some 10,000 people in Central America, including a particularly high death toll in Honduras.

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