Heavy rains that started on 4 October in Honduras have caused flooding and landslides across the country. Most damage has been reported in Francisco Morazán, Valle, and Choluteca departments, where a red alert was issued by the government. 12,076 people have been affected by the floods. 963 homes were damaged, including 169 flooded, and nine completely destroyed. Among them, 7,234 people have been evacuated, and 6,789 moved to 78 temporary shelters.
The Zika virus epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean is most affecting Brazil, with over one million cases estimated. Colombia reports over 18,000 confirmed and 2,000 suspected cases and anticipates over 650,000. El Salvador reports over 6,000 suspected cases. Venezuela reports over 4,500 confirmed cases, however unofficial estimates are thought to be as high as 400,000.
An alert to the first confirmed case of Zika virus in Brazil was issued in May 2015 by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). As of 1 February, Zika has been confirmed in 23 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean. The spread of the disease is likely to continue as the vector species, the Aedes mosquito, is widely distributed in the region.
On 1 February 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika a public health emergency, following a significant increase in the number of reported cases since the start of the year. The last time WHO declared a global health emergency was during the Ebola outbreak. The current Zika outbreak is unlikely to present a crisis of the same scale; the declaration has been issued to fast-track aid and further research, particularly due to a potential link with neurological disorders and congenital birth defects.
500,000 people in the Central American “Dry Corridor”, covering El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, are estimated to be facing severe food insecurity, while around 1.3 million are facing moderate food insecurity. An El Niñorelated dry spell has resulted in significant crop losses during the primera season in all four affected countries for the second consecutive year, severely limiting food reserves in affected areas.