Peacebuilding en las Americas, an initiative of Friends Peace Teams, is responding to the devastation in Central America caused by Hurricane Eta, soliciting donations and working with their partners to supply people with food and other basic needs in this time of crisis. In addition, SEYM Friends have helped with the online AVP workshops which are helpful for support.
Monica Maher, PLA Director, provides this update:
Peacebuilding en las Américas (PLA) partners in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are in shock, still recovering from the devastating events of last week. On November 4, Hurricane Eta swept through Central America destroying everything in its wake: bridges, houses, crops, animals. In Honduras alone, 3 million people have been affected, with hundreds dead, thousands displaced and countless missing. Hardest hit in Honduras was the Sula Valley where PLA counterpart, Mercy Dream Weavers is based. The zone flooded before people had a chance to leave, including the neighborhood of Nelly Delcid, Mercy Dream Weavers Director and Co-founder of AVP Honduras. Nelly and her mother barely escaped the Hurricane alive, rescued at the last moment by two neighborhood boys who ripped open a hole in their roof to pull them out before the house was completely filled with water. Small businesses and houses in the neighborhood are now unsalvageable. Besides Nelly, the family of AVP Facilitator, Ingris Delcid, also lost everything. Nelly, Ingris and other survivors are giving thanks to be alive, and have immediately taken action to help others: cooking, cleaning, evacuating, offering comfort. The government was woefully negligent both in alerting the population of the impending disaster as well as offering rescue to those trapped. Only the people can save the people is the lesson emerging from the Hurricane.
PLA has been monitoring the situation closely, in constant communication with friends most affected, gathering partners together virtually for support and discernment on next steps. PLA informed its immediate network of the disaster and is soliciting donations in order to assist partners in their relief efforts. The emergency is great, worse than Hurricane Mitch more than 20 years ago, and will require long-term rebuilding. Partners have identified the immediate needs as basic food stuffs, medicine, hygiene and cleaning items (external reconstruction), and longer-term needs as community programs for trauma healing and psychological recovery (internal reconstruction). PLA is well positioned for the latter with a strong base already in community programs of the Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP). Also, Honduras counterpart, Mercy Dream Weavers, was born in the wake of Hurricane Mitch precisely to offer a holistic response to the emergency, both external and internal reconstruction.
In the meantime, PLA partners continue to facilitate AVP workshops online, building community across national borders and offering a very real source of strength and comfort during the pandemics. The workshops have been tremendously well received with demand growing as news spreads of their availability. The third and fourth online AVP Basic workshops in Spanish have now begun. In addition, the first online Advanced in Spanish is close to completion with participants from 8 countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Argentina.
Dra. Mónica A. Maher, Coordinadora para América Latina
Peacebuilding en las Américas
Equipos Cuáqueros de Paz/Friends Peace Teams
Please consider donating to Peacebuilding en las Américas. With your help, food distribution through PLA’s Peace Baskets project can continue to reach those in greatest need through this tragedy.