Tegucigalpa/Miami. As Caribbean weather becomes more extreme and unpredictable and natural disasters become more frequent, a new initiative in Honduras is being launched to help communities prepare and protect themselves.
Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez Alvarado signed an agreement Wednesday with Malteser International, the humanitarian relief agency of the Order of Malta, giving green light to a project for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation in Honduras’ southern region.
The cooperation between Malteser International Americas and The Standing Committee for Emergencies (COPECO) of the Government of Honduras aims to support the implementation of national policies on disaster risk reduction at the community level.
"Honduras is one of the countries most affected by floods and hurricanes worldwide. Due to its geographic location and socioeconomic characteristics, Honduras is also considered one of the world's most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change, "said Ravi Tripptrap, executive director of Malteser International Americas. “The country’s mountains and coasts are increasingly impacted by hurricanes and floods in the rainy season and extreme droughts in the summer. Such events are becoming more frequent and more difficult to predict. Throughout its history, extreme weather events in Honduras have caused enormous human, social, economic and environmental losses and constitute a fundamental risk to the sustainable development of the country.”
The project will be planned as a pilot with the ability to be replicated in other regions. It will be implemented over a period of three years, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the process. The government of Honduras is subsidizing the first stage of the project with $30,000 USD.
The implementation will be done jointly by the Honduran Association of the Order of Malta and Malteser International Americas, involving national actors wherever possible, strengthening networking and exchange within the country.
"We are focusing on integrated rural development to strengthen local capacities and community resilience in the long term," says Bernard Casanova, president of the Honduran Association of the Order of Malta. "Related sectors such as health, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene will be considered as well."
Malteser International has experience with projects for disaster preparedness and climate change in other Latin American countries such as Haiti, Mexico and Colombia. Internationally, Malteser International implements projects for disaster risk management in countries such as Vietnam, India, Myanmar and Kenya.
The Order of Malta is a sovereign international Catholic organization dedicated to serving the needy. Today the Order is present in over 120 countries with their own medical, social and welfare activities.