Hurricane Iota kills at least 26 in Central America and the Caribbean

At least 26 dead and devastation left in Central America and the Caribbean Tropical Storm Iota, which dissipated on Wednesday after hitting part of the region like a powerful hurricane, the second in two weeks.

Floods, mudslides and thousands of evacuees They occurred because of Iota in a fragile Central America, with soils saturated with water after the passage of Eta two weeks ago, which caused at least 144 deaths, 120 disappeared, three million people affected, thousands still in shelters, as well as destruction of infrastructure and crops.

Made land in Nicaragua

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) indicated that the remnants of Iota may produce, until Thursday, additional accumulations of rain of up to about 20 centimeters in Honduras, Guatemala Nicaragua, El Salvador and southern Belize.

Iota arrived in Nicaragua on Monday night as a Category 5 hurricane, the maximum possible, and caused the deaths of 16 people, 4 disappeared and devastation in the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean (RACN), the same one in which Eta made landfall on November 3 as a category 4 hurricane, leaving three dead According to the Nicaraguan Red Cross, they are not recognized by the Government.

Although the extent of the destruction of Iota, the devastation is evident in cities like Bilwi or in the community of Haulover, both in the remote RACN and whose inhabitants were just beginning to rise from the hard onslaught of Eta.

Destruction in Honduras

Iota arrived in Honduras already degraded to a tropical depression but its onslaught left at least 6 dead, floods and damage to crops and infrastructure, thousands of victims and dozens of people waiting for a rescue.

A water rescue group has traveled to the sectors of Ciudad Planeta and Rivera Hernández, in northern Honduras, to “evacuate families” that remained trapped in the ceilings from their homes and at other high points due to flooding.

The losses in Honduras from the damage caused by Eta, which left at least 74 dead, and Iota, could exceed 10 billion dollars, according to estimates by the non-governmental Social Forum of the External Debt of Honduras.

El Salvador, Panama and Colombia

Iota, who went into The Savior Before dissipating, it caused rains and winds in this country that caused the death of one person and forced the evacuation of 880 people.

In Panama, the rains associated with Iota left one person dead, at least one other missing, road blocks and the eviction of some communities, especially in the west of the country, where Eta’s influence caused 19 deaths, 12 disappeared and material damage that the Government will face an investment of more than 100 million dollars.

Before reaching Central America, Hurricane Iota struck the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, in the Colombian Caribbean, where it caused at least 2 deaths, one missing person, several injuries and thousands of victims. The Colombian Government declared this Wednesday the situation of disaster in the archipelago, where the destruction is almost on the island of Providencia.

Total destruction

It is still too early to determine the full cost for the destruction of the two hurricanes in Central America, but both governments and humanitarian agencies have asked to speed up aid for this region of nearly 50 million inhabitants, many of them poor, and one of the most vulnerable to onslaught of the climate crisis.

The global NGO Oxfam Intermón has made an “urgent” call to the international community to “make effective” the help Central America due to the disaster of still unknown magnitude due to the passage of two hurricanes that further aggravates the health and economic emergency due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Hurricanes are aggravating “the complicated situation in these countries, with economies already strangled because of the pandemic, “said Oxfam, which also warned that overcrowding in shelters can trigger cases of the new coronavirus.

Climatic disasters

The International Red Cross warned for its part that the death and destruction caused by Eta and Iota in Central America show that financing for risks of weather disasters “It is not assigned where it is most needed.”

He also stressed that Central American countries are suffering the impact of three crises: extreme weather, mass migration caused by economic instability and violence, and covid-19 pandemic.

The president of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), Dante Mossi, proposed this week “a joint action plan” for the reconstruction of devastated areas due to inclement weather. “We have emergency aid and we can coordinate with other donors and countries that are friends of CABEI,” added Mossi.

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