Queen Letizia of Spain made a humanitarian aid trip to Honduras to learn more about the country’s situation after the devastation caused by the hurricanes Eta and Iota. This humanitarian aid trip highlighted the support offered by Spain and was the prelude to the long-term recovery and reconstruction plan that goes beyond emergency aid.
Upon arrival, Letizia was received by Spanish Ambassador to the Republic of Honduras and the Director of Cooperation of Latin America and the Caribbean. During the visit, a significant volume of 120-ton humanitarian aid was delivered, which constitutes the largest effort in the last ten years by Spanish cooperation. Part of the cargo, that was transported on Letizia’s flight, includes, among other supplies, a rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19. The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) will implement the e-Duc @ pilot project in the field of digital education, a pioneering project of the Spanish Cooperation for social development.
The catastrophic Eta and Iota had affected 40 per cent of the population in Honduras. The hurricanes left half a million evacuees, one hundred thousand people crammed into shelters, half of the students without connection to the Internet, a hundred dead, 330,000 people isolated and the economic engine of the country, San Pedro Sula, destroyed.
The day began with a meeting with the Spanish NGOs active in the humanitarian response to Hurricanes Eta and Iota in the Sula Valley Area. Spanish Red Cross and other organizations have been actively helping the communities that are suffering after the hurricanes.
Next, Letizia travelled to the Coronel Armando Escalón Espinal Air Base, where she was received upon arrival by the President of the Republic of Honduras and the First Lady, Juan Orlando Hernández and Ana García. The people who were affected by the hurricanes and aid workers agreed that the damage from the last tropical storms Iota and Eta has been much greater than it was from Mitch in 1998. There has not been the high number of victims of then but there is a fear that its effects will be more structural and lasting than Mitch.
Accompanied by the President and the First Lady of the Republic of Honduras, Queen Letizia went to the hangar where an informative meeting was held on the damage caused by tropical storms Eta and Iota as they passed through the area. The Queen’s visit also aims to help raise awareness and mobilize the international community as a whole on the seriousness of the situation and the need to redouble efforts in critical areas such as education, health and climate change.
After a video presentation, the President of the Republic of Honduras explained the damage and the work carried out using explanatory panels to the Spanish Queen. The meeting ended with a tour of a sample of the humanitarian aid material sent by the Spanish cooperation.
Doña Letizia went to the Oswaldo López de Arellano Basic Education Center where she learnt about the on-going education projects. After the visit and the meeting with teachers from the Center, Her Majesty the Queen and the President of the Republic of Honduras and the First Lady went to the Instituto Patria to visit the shelter established there.
At the centre, Letizia learnt about the work carried out by the Emergency Coordinator of the Spanish Red Cross, and then began a visit to the Center where she was able to check both the state of the sanitation area and the room area, where she spoke with the families staying.
The shelter is offering water, and elementary hygiene to 131 families (222 adults, most of them women, 161 under 18 and 83 under 5). The families are living together in classrooms converted into temporary accommodation, which can be extended over time. During the visit, people who took refuge at the shelter told Letizia, “We are afraid of Covid. The problem is that now we are afraid of other things as well. We have nothing left ”.
The residents thanked the Queen and the Honduras First couple for the visit during the difficult time. A 27-years old woman, who survived Mitch in 1988 when she was 5 and now have 5 years daughter, told Letizia, “We don’t have opportunities, but we have capabilities.” Queen Letizia spent 6 hours met with representatives of NGOs and aid workers, toured neighbourhoods, muddy streets and rubble, memories of destroyed houses and schools and destroyed and useless crops.
The Honduras President and First Lady thanked the Spanish Queen for the visit that brought a cheeriness among the people and for the Spanish Cooperation during a difficult time. Spain leads the international aid for the reconstruction of a country of 9 and a half million inhabitants. Honduras stands on the third position in the scale of inequality in the World.
Then Letizia headed towards the Operations Center of the 105th Brigade, Where President of the Republic of Honduras and the First Lady offered a lunch before the end of the trip.
Upon arrival, Queen Letizia was wearing her white Massimo Dutti Poplin Shirt with Epaulettes that she first wore in April 2019.
Queen Letizia paired the shirt with an off white trouser.
Later on, she changed into Carolina Herrera ivory jacket debuted in July 2019.
This time she wore a grey trouser.
Queen Letizia chose her Panama boots
Both days, Letizia was wearing red Jacket from Spanish Cooperation.