What are the most urgent needs you are now seeing?
Rauda: Hurricane Iota is jeopardizing thousands of lives, livelihoods and infrastructure. Right now, thousands of people are evacuated again in the northern side of Nicaragua and on the coast of Honduras, because Iota will strike these regions as a Category 5 hurricane. The most pressing needs on the ground now are shelter, food and hygiene kits. The level of water saturation in the soil and the fact that the population has not recovered from the impact of Eta, is increasing the vulnerability of communities, even with the prevention measures that governments are carrying out at this time. Floods, landslides, isolated areas due to infrastructure destruction and power outages are expected, as well as destruction of family assets. Unfortunately, the loss of human lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable cannot be avoided, even when both governments are conducting a huge effort to save lives.
What has been the role of churches?
Rauda: Churches are giving their temples to serve as shelters, they are providing food and psychosocial and spiritual care. They organize local campaigns to collect and give clothes, food and hygiene items in the shelters, coordinate with governments to canalize aid to the people, and provide safe havens for families. Churches are advocating with governments to provide sufficient aid, with respect for the dignity of those affected.
Can you describe a day in the life of a humanitarian responder right now?
Rauda: Right now the humanitarian responders are pretty busy in order to reorganize these massive evacuations, trying to advocate to do it with respect for the core humanitarian standards, but also with a practical sense that allows the evacuation to proceed in a timely manner. Churches, ACT members and partners are involved in support and they are coordinating at local levels in these operations, especially in the shelters operated by them.