Operación Eta: A Relief Coalition for Tropical Storm Eta in Honduras

Tropical storm EtaIn November 2020, more than 250 people from Central American countries were either missing or dead due to the tropical storm Eta. Floods and landslides displaced many vulnerable populations. The impoverished lost their shelter, food and even loved ones. However, the storm triggered people into action and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) stepped up to help Honduras, which led to the “Operación Eta” coalition.

How Does Operación Eta Work?

The coalition’s main goal is to raise funds to support the families affected by tropical storm Eta. Funding comes from crowdsourcing. Thus, Operación Eta has established a GoFundMe profile. Behind the profile, a group of nonprofit organizations has come together. In addition, Honduran college students aiming to create social change in their country established initiatives to counteract poverty, hunger and social inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, tropical storm Eta has united all these groups in one collective effort to help the nation recover. Among other nonprofits, Operación Frijol and Abrazos de Plata work within Operación Eta.

Nonprofits Working Under Operación Eta

    1. Operación Frijol: Frijol means bean, which is the primary source of nutrients for Honduran families. College students founded the project during the first months of the COVID-19 health crisis. “A group of friends from school, who were studying abroad, wanted to help their country. When they found out about the initiative, they donated money. Now we reach 110 volunteers,” Hugo Caballero, member of Operación Frijol told The Borgen Project. Donations enabled the organization to provide basic food baskets for people suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic. Since tropical storm Eta struck Honduras, Operación Frijol has transformed its platform into a donation site for victims of the disaster. The organization collected food, water, lanterns, clothes, blankets, masks and personal hygiene products to distribute. Moreover, it broadcasted the location of shelters. “There are children, pregnant women and disabled people among the victims,” Caballero said.
    2. Abrazos de Plata: Operación Frijol joined forces with several NGOs in order to create a stronger impact. One of them is Abrazos de Plata. The organization’s name means silver hugs. It describes itself as a “group of young people whose mission is to support elders living in nursing homes.” Abandoned elders, left to their own devices, caught the NGO members’ attention. The members reacted by supporting these elders in order to prevent social inequality and conditions stemming from poor hygiene and malnutrition. Since the Honduran president declared a state of emergency due to the storm, the project focuses on gathering donations and setting up shelters for those who have lost most of their belongings. Abrazos de Plata collected donations and provided supplies. “We are amazed by the effective response of our Honduran brothers, everyone donates what they can,” Rocío Pavón, a medical student volunteer told The Borgen Project.

Looking Ahead

Tropical storm Eta has wrecked homes and disrupted lives. However, this tragic natural disaster has united the Honduran people while inspiring people’s generosity and encouraging others to stand up in solidarity. The natural hazard has triggered college students into action, bringing hope to those struggling amid the consequences of the disaster.

Paola Arriaza Avilés
Photo: Pixabay