In better times, the verdant hills of Jinotega, Nicaragua, are carpeted with coffee cherries that yield a superior brew and provide a decent living for the region’s farming families.

In the wake of hurricanes Eta and Iota — both of which struck Nicaragua as Category 4 storms earlier last month — many of these coffee farms now lie in ruins, with uprooted trees, flooded fields and imperiled livelihoods.

As I hear from our Lutheran World relief staff in Central America, the situation is dire. The agricultural damage is catastrophic, and the Red Cross estimates 3 million people have been affected by Eta and Iota, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Meanwhile, Covid-19 infections are on the rise. As the extent of the devastation becomes clearer, the US government needs to urgently approve and facilitate the rapid delivery of assistance to both the emergency response and recovery effort on the ground.

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