Locally-based nonprofit Operation Blessing helping hurricane victims in Central America


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It has been a very busy and devastating hurricane season. Central America is recovering from two storms: hurricanes Eta and Iota.

Operation Blessing is a humanitarian disaster relief organization that is based in Virginia Beach, but has offices around the world, including in some of the countries hit hard by hurricane season.

“A disaster zone of unprecedented proportions” is how Diego Traverso, director of International Disaster Relief from Operation Blessing Mexico, describes the damage in Central America caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota.

Traverso is coordinating relief efforts in the region.

“There’s no words to describe the damage that these two hurricanes hit Central America and the south of Mexico. The first one flooded everything, even the airport in Honduras is totally flooded, like 9 feet of water. We never expected to have another one in less than two weeks,” he said.

The two storms hit within weeks of each other, displacing millions of people in countries like Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Mexico. Operation Blessing has offices in those countries and was able to help within hours.

“The first 72 hours has been only for rescuing people that got trapped on the roof trying to survive because the water was everywhere,” said Traverso. “It was so devastating for them to see water everywhere, surrounded by water.”

Traverso says they start by providing food and hygiene kits. The next phase is giving out mats and blankets and trying to help people back to their homes.

“Now that the water is going down a little bit, we’re going to start helping the families to clean their houses, trying to get back to their houses with whatever they have and whatever we can provide to them,” Traverso said.

He says it might take years to recover from the damage. Operation Blessing will be there to help.

There’s also the added challenge of dealing with the coronavirus, as a lot of people are displaced from their homes and in crowded shelters.

Click here to donate to relief efforts.

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