Synergies Group: Impact of extreme events in Central America and the recovery and prevention actions of the EUROCLIMA+ project

The Synergies group of the EUROCLIMA+ projects in Central America held the virtual discussion "Impacts of hurricanes Eta and Iota on the livelihoods of rural families in Central America: Challenges and Perspectives for restoration and prevention in the face of future extreme events", with 40 people connected.

Central America, 18 May 2021 - In this discussion, the Honduran Coffee Institute (IHCAFE) and the Commonwealth of the Central American Trifinio (MTFRL), implementers of EUROCLIMA+ projects in Central America;
presented an account of the main impacts of hurricanes Eta and Iota on the main livelihoods of rural families in the areas of project implementation, with emphasis on the effects of these affectations on the levels of Food and Nutritional Security.

Hurricane Eta, a category 4 hurricane with winds of 240 km/h, made landfall in Nicaragua on 4 November and moved through Honduras and northeastern Guatemala. Then came Iota, the most powerful hurricane of the season (reaching category 5 with winds up to 260 km/h), which hit the three countries again just as they were trying to recover from the first one.

According to Eng. Osmar Napoleón Matute of IHCAFE, the hurricanes generated rainfall of 385.13 millimetres of water, equivalent to 2.5 months of rainfall, affecting 224 coffee-growing municipalities, 4304 hectares of coffee, with direct crop losses estimated at 156,533 quintals of gold coffee. 

    Foto4 Cafe                                                           

Matute indicated that at the production level, the excess water in the soil caused soil erosion and losses of areas with crops due to landslides, overripe fruit fall, fruit and foliage fall due to environmental stress, and the excess humidity in the coffee plantations favoured the incidence of pests and diseases. 

According to the study, the most affected coffee landscapes were those with low forest cover, so IHCAFE promotes green recovery through ecosystem-based solutions such as: coffee Agroforestry Systems (AFS) with adequate forest cover, reduced use of agrochemicals, access to certified seeds and land management plans for coffee-growing areas to obtain better yields without affecting ecosystem services. Finally, Eng. Matute stressed that the automation of agro-climatic information and its proper transfer to producers is essential to accelerate the recovery of livelihoods impacted by the pandemic and extreme weather events.

For his part, Eng. Marlon Paiz of the MTFRL, shared the impacts of Eta and Iota in the Central American Trifinio region where some 70,000 families were affected, 25,000 hectares damaged, 12,000 hectares lost, as well as the fish ponds, mesh houses (tunnels), artesian intakes, irrigation systems and micro tunnels affecting the Food Security of families.

Paiz indicated that in the short term after the hurricanes, the project delivered food packages to alleviate the FNS problems of the population aggravated by COVID and the hurricanes. 

Foto2 Coversatorio6                                                           


He highlighted that in the medium term the recovery strategy they are implementing is a new approach for Sustainable Territories Adapted to Climate Options (Spanish acronym TeSAC) to improve resilience and food security, in which different actors in the territory co-develop, promote, adapt and evaluate portfolios of integrated and innovative options in search of sustainable agriculture and the improvement of the livelihoods of the rural population.  They have also institutionalised their participation through the agro-thematic roundtables for climate. 

For his part, Douglas Benavidez, coordinator of the SINERGIAS group and the AFCIPRA project, emphasised that during the course of the implementation of the actions, negative externalities have arisen that have affected the original planning; one of these externalities was the impact of hurricanes Iota and Eta, which had considerable impacts on the livelihoods of the rural families served by the projects currently being implemented. This implied new challenges, which have led to the design and implementation of strategic and operational actions to adjust and adapt the project's actions to the impact of these externalities, which considerably modified an already dynamic context.

He added that in addition to generating direct benefits to those affected by the hurricanes, the implementation of adjustment and adaptation actions to mitigate the effects of Iota and Eta promoted by the projects generated a wealth of knowledge and learning, which, when shared with the executors, is very useful in the face of future extreme events.

About SINERGIAS group 

The Synergies group is made up of the technical teams of the projects supported by the Resilient Food Production and Forestry, Biodiversity and Ecosystems sectors of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and which implement actions in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector. In this space, topics of common interest have been identified among the executors, who - among others - are leading to a series of discussions for the technical team for the member projects of the group, sharing experiences (best practices and lessons learned), contributing to the scaling up and potentialisation of impacts, with a focus on South-South cooperation.


EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, particularly for the benefit of the most vulnerable populations. The Programme is implemented under the synergistic work of seven agencies: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the French Development Agency (AFD), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Expertise France (EF), the International and Ibero-America Foundation for Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP), the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and UN Environment.

More information

Synergies Group of EC+ projects of CA, Benavidez, Douglas, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Editorial staff

Judit Vanegas, Communication specialist AFCIPRA This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo captions; screen-grabs of the discussion 6


Contact us

European Union
Expertise France office: 73, rue de Vaugirard - 75006 Paris. GIZ office: Rue Archimède 61, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.

Expertise France: +33 1 70 82 73 57
GIZ: + 32 2 710 1937

Implementing Agencies

giz deutsche

logo expertise france22