Even after 24 years, Onys Sierra’s voice still breaks when she recalls the night Hurricane Mitch began devastating her home country of Honduras. “I remember thinking, ‘I have to sleep next to my daughter, because if we die, we will be together,’” she said.*
Once the storm finally cleared, homes, workplaces and lives had been destroyed. “Erased from the map,” Sierra said of her country. “Whole families dead, bodies of people floating, children.”
“That experience is the hardest I have ever had in life,” she added.
Hurricane Mitch is the second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. More than 11,000 people were killed and 3 million left homeless by the storm in Honduras and Nicaragua. Mitch made landfall in 1998, where it slowed and sat over Central America, dumping rain for days . Left: The Rio Lampa swells near the city of Nueva Ocotepeque during Hurricane Mitch.
In the following decades, climate change has made hurricanes with periods of long, heavy rains more common . […]
Michelle Rojas-Soto is Social Justice Director at the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council and Managing Director at Encompass, a racial equity nonprofit. Her children attend LAUSD and Glendale USD schools.