fbpx
Moskitia Forest, Honduras. Photo courtesy of Laurie Hedges

Within a span of two weeks two massive hurricanes Eta and Iota pummeled Mesoamerica, hitting Nicaragua and Honduras directly. The category 4 and category 5 hurricanes, with winds of 160 miles-per-hour and dumping more than 30 inches of rain, caused mass devastation to the Moskitia Forest, one of the Five Great Forests of Mesoamerica. The Moskitia Forest, which is vital to sustaining indigenous communities in the face of human-induced climate change and the extinction crisis, was flooded by the back-to-back storms, making it more susceptible to illegal land grabs for cattle ranching and logging. The Indigenous communities who live in and are guardians of the forest, lost their homes, livelihoods and in some cases their lives in the storms.

Flooding in Bilwi, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of AMPB

Flooding in Bilwi, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of AMPB

Emergency relief efforts in Mesoamerica in the wake of the storms have largely focused on urban areas. Indigenous communities living in remote areas are still waiting for help. The Mesoamerica Climate Resilience and Response Fund, established by the Mesoamerican Alliance for People and Forests (AMPB), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC), is rushing emergency funding and supplies to the Indigenous communities who live in and around the binational Moskitia Forest. These supplies will help them recover and rebuild their communities, and continue to serve as guardians of Mesoamerica’s Five Great Forests.

Help us get desperately needed emergency relief to Indigenous communities including:

  • Seeds to replant their crops
  • Food staples
  • Clothing
  • Construction materials to rebuild their homes
Evacuation of communities de Cabo Gracias de Dios Mosquitia Nicaragua

Indigenous communities of Cabo Gracias a Dios in Moskitia evacuating. Photo courtesy of AMPB

Nearly half of Mesoamerica’s Five Great Forests are governed by Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities who have lived and worked sustainably in them for centuries. Intact forests and Indigenous communities, such as these are critically important; globally such forests represent 30% of the climate solution by absorbing and storing carbon.

Houses destroyed by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, and surrounded by flood waters in Bilwi, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of AMPB

Houses destroyed by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, and surrounded by flood waters in Bilwi, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of AMPB

2020 has been a record-breaking hurricane season. There were 30 storms large enough to receive names. Iota was the 13th hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season. Peaking in strength on Nov. 16, there has never been a category 5 hurricane so late in the season. The increased strength and intensity of these storms are caused by human-induced climate change. Central America is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to severe weather events caused by climate change. The region has been affected by increasingly severe droughts and fires during the dry season, and more frequent and stronger tropical storms during the wet season. Indigenous and local communities in the Caribbean are exposed and vulnerable to these devastating hurricanes and extreme weather events. In the last 20 years, the region experienced about 17 hurricanes annually, of which 23 reached category 5 strength. Yet, the region has never experienced a season like 2020, especially two hurricanes destroying the same areas in less than two weeks.

Healthy and intact forests, like the Five Great Forests of Mesoamerica, which includes the Moskitia Forest, are a critical nature-based solution to slow and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The restoration of coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves, also help buffer storm damage.

Help Indigenous communities and the Moskitia Forest recover.

Partner Logos

Partner Logos