HONDURAS Giving birth in a natural disaster

 Honduras
 Emergency Response
 29th Oct 2008

Karen had her estimated child delivery date: November 5 2008. She delivered October 18, 2008, after only eight months of pregnancy.

The Municipality of Tegucigalpa issued an eviction order to those living in houses in Colonia Altos del Eden on Friday October 17, 2008, due to the geological fault existing in this area which arrived at 11:00 pm. This fault added to the tropical storm caused several houses to collapse and many structural damages making this area uninhabitable.

The eviction started on Saturday October 18 at 6:00 am. By 12:30 pm Karen was being transported to the shelter in a school in El Bosque in a police car. At the same time she went into labour, her water broke and her child was born in the front seat in the police car.

Karen says “I only had time to spread my legs and grab the child with my own hands.” Karen was taken to IHSS (Honduran Social Security Institute) in La Granja, Comayaguela, where she and her child received attention. The child was born healthy, weighing 7 lbs.

Karen was taken to the shelter on October 19 at 6:00 pm. Since she got there, she started receiving support from many institutions; CARE is one of them, the Municipality, Church and neighbors have donated clothes, food, kitchen kit, and baby products.

Karen says that the first donation she got was CARE’s kitchen and hygiene kits. She was surprised by what she found there. She got diapers for her child and other people who also got these kits shared with her the diapers they didn’t need.

Karen believes that what caused her to give birth that day was the shock of what she was going through. Her house was destroyed; she was told she could not live there anymore, only a few of her belongings could be rescued. Since the eviction, the municipality has closed down the house and there is no more access to his area. In the 24 years of living in this place, her husband had never seen this kind of incidents.

Karen feels sad. Her house collapsed and even though she is receiving help from many institutions and from the government, it is never the same as being at home. What Karen and many other wonder is, where are we going to live? Who will help us get new homes? All the government has offered is only to move them to another temporary shelter. Karen’s request to institutions and government is a house or a safe place for her and her family.

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