In Nicaragua it arrived with category 5, although it was later downgraded to 1. In the Colombian Providencia, it punished an isolated population.
Hurricane Iota left destruction on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua early Tuesday morning, after hitting category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and caused flooding on the Pacific coast, already downgraded to category 1.
Iota, classified as an “extremely dangerous” hurricane, left homeless some of the main buildings in Bilwi, the main city of the North Caribbean Autonomous Region (RACN) of Nicaragua. where 38,000 of the 40,000 evacuated people had taken refuge in 250 shelter centers.
Meanwhile, the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, arrived on the island of San Andrés, hit on Monday by the passage of hurricane Iota, category 5, and said that from the air he could verify the magnitude of the destruction in Providencia, which is part of that Caribbean archipelago.
“We were flying over the island of Providencia before our landing here on the island of San Andrés,” Duque said on the runway of Gustavo Rojas Pinilla airport, which reopened after being closed for two days due to torrential rains and winds up to 250 kilometers per hour caused by Iota.
In the Caribbean of Nicaragua, one of the buildings that was left in the open was the Provisional Hospital of Bilwi, which forced the Armed Forces to move to a safer place for patients, as well as health personnel, in the rain and between the strong winds of Iota, which reached 260 kilometers per hour before making landfall, according to the Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies (Ineter).
Religious buildings, schools that served as shelter and housing centers also lost their roofs, some of which threatened the lives of people who risked walking in the street in the midst of the gale, according to different residents of Bilwi, in their social networks .
Some of the homes that had been repaired 13 days earlier, After the passage of hurricane Eta, also category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, they were felled by Iota, and dozens of trees suffered the same fate, as did the electricity and telephone lines, indicated the National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Disaster Relief (Sinapred) in a preliminary report.
Different neighborhoods in Bilwi suffered floods, especially those close to the coast, and the entire city was cut off and without electricity since last night.
Authorities fear that during its passage through the border area with Honduras, Iota will cause more destruction and flooding, as well as landslides, despite the fact that is rapidly degrading to a tropical storm.
Sinapred reported that “some families” were evacuated in the department of Nueva Segovia, where the Las Manos border post is located, which separates Nicaragua and Honduras, while in Jalapa, in the same jurisdiction, collapsed power poles were reported .
While the center of Iota wreaked havoc on the roofs of the houses of the Nicaraguan Caribbean, this morning he was doing the same on the soil of the Pacific zone.
Municipal representatives of Sinapred reported the overflow of at least two of the most important rivers in the department (province) of Rivas, in southwestern Nicaragua, which caused floods in towns like Tola or Salinas.
The Pan-American Highway was crossed by the Ochomogo River, one of the largest in Rivas, despite which traffic was not interrupted. Both in Tola and in Salinas the water rose about a meter from street level.
The Ineter authorities warned of strong waves in the Pacific Ocean, which could affect the vessels, while those of the Sinapred showed concern due to possible landslides on Ometepe Island, in the Great Lake of Nicaragua.
Iota made landfall on Monday at 10:00 p.m. local time (04:00 GMT), in the community of Haulover, about 45 kilometers south of Bilwi, in Category 4 Saffir-Simpson, with winds of 250 kilometers per hour. So far the state of the community is unknown.
The authorities maintain the red alert for the Caribbean of Nicaragua, yellow for the north and south, as well as green for the rest of the country, since it does not rule out a major disaster.