Devastation caused by «Iota»: next violent hurricane hits Central America

Devastation caused by “iota”
Next violent hurricane hits Central America

Two women cross a street in La Lima, Honduras, in heavy rain. Photo: Delmer Martinez / AP / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

For the second time in November, a dangerous hurricane hit Nicaragua. “Iota” is losing strength there, but large areas are under water. Because the effects of the previous hurricane were still noticeable, they are likely to be even worse this time.

Around two weeks after the devastating hurricane “Eta”, a second dangerous storm devastated parts of Central America.

As a category four hurricane – with sustained wind speeds of 250 kilometers per hour, just below the limit of a storm of the highest level – “Iota” first hit land in Nicaragua.

Pictures showed torrential floods, streets and residential areas under very high water as well as broken bridges. Media reported on power outages and numerous places cut off from the outside world. According to information from the Nicaraguan government on Tuesday evening (local time), at least six people had died there. There were also reports of deaths – initially unconfirmed – from Honduras, El Salvador and Panama. More than 60,000 people were reportedly in emergency shelters in Nicaragua.

Numerous people had also been brought to safety in neighboring Honduras. The cyclone moved there, which weakened more and more during the day and was downgraded to a tropical storm. According to the US National Hurricane Center, “Iota” was expected to weaken further and to dissolve near El Salvador on Monday.

The meteorologists continued to warn of possible catastrophic flash floods and landslides in several Central American countries. Honduras’ civil protection agency, Copeco, urged all people near the Ulúa, Chamelecón and Cangrejal rivers to leave the areas immediately on Tuesday evening (local time). As a result, the levels rose unstoppably – there would be widespread, catastrophic floods. The danger was also great because of the damage that Eta had left behind. In many areas the soil was already saturated with water before the arrival of “Iota”.

“Eta” hit the coast of Nicaragua on November 3 as a category four hurricane – only around 25 kilometers north of the place where “Iota” reached land. “Eta” devastated areas in several countries and flooded entire areas. Thousands of families lost their homes, and more than a million people urgently needed help, according to the aid organization. More than 150 deaths were recorded; In addition, there are around 100 residents of a village in Guatemala that was buried in a landslide. The search for them was canceled because of dangerous conditions.

“Iota” was the strongest storm of the current hurricane season. It first swept across the Colombian Caribbean islands of Providencia and San Andrés on Monday as a category five hurricane. According to the President Iván Duque, it was the first hurricane of the highest level on Colombian territory. There has been at least one death on Providencia.

“Iota” was the 30th storm this year that was strong enough to get a name – the previous record was 28 a year. So many strong storms have formed this year’s season that the 21 designated names have long been used up. For this reason, meteorologists used the Greek alphabet for the first time in 15 years. There were also an unusually high number of strong storms towards the end of the season, which lasts from June to November. According to experts, the increasing intensity of tropical cyclones is a consequence of climate change.

dpa

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