Main photo: The journalists listen to the story of resident Dunia Rodriguez, who lost her home in La Lima to floods. Photo: CIR, featured image: Andrej Barat.
Honduras is one of the countries hardest hit by the climate crisis. Together with nine journalists from Germany and Eastern Europe in the project "Game On! Don't let climate change end the game" we undertook a media trip through the country with the goal of highlighting climate injustices and passing on the climate demands of the Global South. Our Honduran partner organization "Centro de Desarrollo Humano" (CDH) organized the trip with us.
Six days, many different places and people who tell about the effects of the climate crisis. Extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, which are increasing due to global warming, are depriving people of their livelihoods. Here we share stories from these places:
- Fishing village of Cedeño on the Pacific coast: Here, the rising sea level is destroying buildings. Added to this is the loss of fish due to marine pollution from the shrimp industry. The lack of work means that more and more young adults are emigrating.
- Colonia Guillen in the capital Tegucigalpa: The neighborhood lies on a geological fracture site and has been severely affected by a landslide. The cause: heavy rainfall in September 2022.
- Zazagua in the mountainous heart of Honduras: A hydroelectric power plant means that the indigenous Lenca community suffers from water scarcity and food insecurity.
- La Reina in the far west of the country: The community of at least 400 families was buried by a massive landslide in November 2020, caused by the heavy rains from Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
- La Lima near the city of San Pedro Sula: The city in the banana-growing region was hit hardest by Tropical Storm Eta. People are complaining about flood damage to private homes, state infrastructure and crops.
"With this trip, we are putting a face to the numbers on the climate crisis," says Lisa Kirtz, CIR's climate justice officer. "This brings the climate crisis, as well as Central America as an affected region, closer to the public—in a total of seven EU countries!"
STORIES FROM THE COMMUNITIES VISITED
Delmis Yanira Amaya Ordonez, Cedeño
Delmis lives with her four children and her husband in a wooden house that stands on stilts.
"I have to shovel sand away every day because the waves push it under our house. I live there with my children, two of whom are still young. For example, last night I could hardly sleep. The tidal waves scare the hell out of me. If they come, we run.”
She listed what she would need to build a new home away from the danger zone. The family can't afford that, especially since Delmis' husband hardly catches any fish anymore.
Roxana Galvez, 49, Colonia Guillen
Roxana had just paid off her house when the landslide damaged it so badly that it is now uninhabitable. She is a qualified lawyer, but earns too little to support herself because her clients cannot pay her well. She also takes care of her parents, who are both suffering from illnesses. Her father was also seriously injured in the landslide. Now she and her relatives live in rented apartments.
"Imagine someone telling you: You have to get out of your house. And you have nowhere to go. We don't know how to pay the rent. We sometimes have to take out expensive loans, and while we're trying to pay them off, the next month's rent is already coming. And then I still have to see what I’ll feed my children with.”
Augustina Mejía, 64, Zazagua
Augustina and her husband did not want to sell their property to the hydroelectric company. In the end, the family was tricked: the company initially paid them–too little–compensation for their property, but years later demanded the money back and is now even suing Augustina.
"Instead of giving me the money, they took it away from me. That is the resentment I hold against these shameless people.”
Omar Gastrón, 58, La Reina
Omar and his two adult children lost their homes in the landslide. They were promised a house in a new settlement in the valley. They've been waiting for it for three years.
"We're still drifting, after three years, imagine that. On climate change I would like to say: I would like the powerful to put an end to it. Because look what's happening right now with this community right here. And what's next? Nature takes its toll on what you do to it.”
Dunia Rodríguez, 39, La Lima
Dunia has seen quite a few hurricanes. After the Eta and Iota floods in 2020, she stashed her belongings in a tree in preparation for the next floods. Despite everything, Dunia tries to remain happy.
“My house was ripped away from me… I was left with nothing, it took all the effort that you put in as a poor person because you don't have the means to build a house. It had taken me six years to build my house. It is very difficult to start again from scratch. Even now I only live under a roof made of scrap wood and sheet metal I found because there is no budget to build it out of real material. Thank God we're still alive, we'll recover the material things. It has cost us dearly, but we love our community and we are surviving. And we know the storms are coming, but we are here.”
MEDIA TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
Article by Romero Initiative - CIR (German)
Would you like to support the Honduran communities shown in the videos?
You can do it through the German organization CIR!
Christliche Initiative Romero e.V. (CIR)
IBAN DE67 4006 0265 0003 1122 00
If you enter "CDH in Honduras" in the subject field of the transfer, your donation will go directly to them.