Lourdes López Vásquez, 16, with her baby Saida, 9 months old.
“The family was evacuated at midnight, that was during hurricane Eta. We heard thundering noises coming from underground, from inside the mountain” said Lourdes, “We were all evacuated, it was dark, we all felt sad”. Lourdes’ family is one of 60 families affected by the landslide in the village of El Zapote, San Luis Planes, Santa Bárbara. That night six houses were destroyed by a landslide there and another 55 were made unsafe by subsidence, and have now been declared uninhabitable. The region of Santa Bárbara, with steep mountain slopes that are ideal for coffee growing, is particularly prone to landslides. Fairtrade-certified cooperative Montaña Verde is based in San Luis Planes and coop members are all affected by climate change, hurricanes and landslides. Serious problems with access to farms, loss of land, loss of topsoil, washed-out nutrients, the early fall of unripe cherries, leaf drop, root rot, and a proliferation of fungal diseases all affect the producers, as well as the loss of their corn and bean crops that they rely on as their staple food.