Mary Robinson arrives in Honduras today, where she will visit Trócaire projects that are helping families overcome the disastrous impacts of the El Nino drought.
Honduras is the most vulnerable country in the world to the effects of climate change. There are currently over 1.3 million people in the country at risk of food shortages due to drought.
Between 1980 and 2014, Honduras was affected by more than 50 natural disasters, resulting in 15,548 deaths. Annual economic losses due to climatic events are estimated at US$667 million (2.6% of GDP).
Mrs. Robinson is visiting Honduras as part of her role as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and El Nino.
Thanks to the support of people all over Ireland, Trócaire is currently providing emergency support to 7,500 families - approximately 40,000 people - in Honduras. Our support targets the most vulnerable through food distribution, provision of seeds, irrigation and other methods aimed at improving food production and nutrition in the face of the drought.
Mrs. Robinson will meet with families in the Pespire region, where many young people have been forced to migrate because of the ongoing impacts of climate change.
Over 85 per cent of the population rely on agriculture but the majority of farmers earn less than €400 a year. As droughts, storms and other extreme weather events continue to become more frequent, many young people are moving to cities or to the United States to earn a living.
Farmers in Pespire say that climate has changed in the last 30 years. Temperatures are much higher during the day, it is raining less often and when it rains the amount of water that falls in a short period of time is high. Maize yields have dropped to less than 40% of the average yields in Honduras.
As a result of the scarcity of available food, prices have gone up, especially maize and beans. At the moment the price of maize has increased in Pespire by 70%.
The situation is tense and conflicts erupt because of water scarcity. In some communities there is hardly any water left for human consumption and in most places rivers and streams are too dry to be used for irrigation.
This is a situation facing growing numbers of people in Central America. The humanitarian situation along Central America’s Dry Corridor has reached crisis levels, with more than 3.5 million people facing food insecurity in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Guatemala and Honduras have been the most affected. As a result, 2.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including food, health care, and activities to recover livelihoods and increase resilience.
Mary Robinson last month visited Trócaire projects in northern Ethiopia, where people are experiencing food shortages due to the same El Nino drought that is impacting Honduras.
Mary Robinson visits a Trócaire project in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, earlier this month.
She visited one project in the Tigray region of northern Kenya where Trócaire has been working with the local community to protect them against extreme droughts.
By building irrigation and improving water management, Trócaire is helping to ensure people have access to water even when the rains fail.
Globally, 60 million people have been impacted by the El Nino drought crisis but Ethiopia has been worst affected. Ten million people in Ethiopia are facing food shortages because of the drought. Thanks to the generous support of people in Ireland, Trócaire is supporting 600,000 people in Ethiopia with emergency relief.
We are also responding in Honduras, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
These relief efforts are the incredible result of people in Ireland supporting vulnerable people overseas in this time of crisis.
You can donate to the emergency appeal and give support to people who urgently need it.