November 12, 2020

Central America Mennonite churches seek hurricane relief

Written by  Micah Brickner
Rain has stopped in Guatemala, but the clean-up and recovery will continue to be a significant challenge. Ted Smoker/EMM Rain has stopped in Guatemala, but the clean-up and recovery will continue to be a significant challenge. Ted Smoker/EMM

SALUNGA, Pa. — On November 3, category four Hurricane Eta reached the shores of Nicaragua, and continued its path, wreaking havoc on Honduras and Guatemala. Torrential rain throughout the region has caused mass flooding, landslides, and displacement.

Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) staff received a video from Pastor José Fernández, president of the Honduras Mennonite Church. In the video, Fernández is shown standing on the roof of a building overlooking a neighborhood submerged in water due to flooding.

“Those in the northern coastal areas of Honduras remember the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998,” said Wendell Nofziger, EMM regional representative for Central America, “and once again are facing extensive amounts of clean-up and reconstruction.”

Referring to damage in Guatemala, EMM volunteer worker Galen Groff said, “Alta Verapaz has been devastated by flooding in the past few days. Many families have lost everything both in the Carcha area as well as in the northern districts of Las Casas, Monte Cristo, and Canlech.”

EMM has committed to sending relief funds to various ministry partners located in hard-hit areas of Honduras and Guatemala. In addition to these emergency relief funds, EMM is inviting people to give to relief efforts through its ministry partner Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

Gifts given to MCC will be used to support Anabaptist partner organizations throughout Central America. Current recovery efforts include providing cleaning and hygiene supplies, along with emergency food assistance.

In addition to financial support, EMM is encouraging prayer for all who have been impacted by the hurricane. “Please join us in prayer for those who are displaced as well as for the hard work of rebuilding in the next weeks and months,” said EMM Mission Team Director Lorri Bentch.

Donations for relief efforts can be given online here or by sending a check to MCC, PO Box 500, Akron, PA 17501-0500 with a preference memo for “Hurricane Eta relief.”