(CNN) — Iota is already considered the strongest hurricane that has hit Nicaragua in the history of the Central American country and has so far left six people dead, according to the local government.
Four adults and two minors died, according to the vice president of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo.
More than 400,000 people in Nicaragua were affected by the storm when it made landfall near Haulover on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 250 km / h, according to the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC). , for its acronym in English).
More than 62,000 people in the Central American nation have been transferred to 683 government shelters after the storm, the country’s government said on national television on Tuesday.
There is almost no communication with the city of Bilwi, also known as Puerto Cabezas, due to blackouts and downed power lines.
Meanwhile, on the Colombian island of Providencia, at least two people have died and one is missing, according to the president of Colombia, Iván Duque.
Hurricane Iota downgrades to tropical storm
Iota was downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall and subsequently a tropical storm, the NHC said. The center of the storm was expected to move over southern Honduras on Tuesday and to continue to weaken near El Salvador on Wednesday.
The storm is currently 40 kilometers from El Papalón, in El Salvador, with maximum sustained winds of 65 km / h, according to the warning of 12:00 am on Wednesday by the NHC.
The dissipation of Iota has done nothing to minimize the devastation in a region still reeling from the passage of Hurricane Eta.
The storm’s waves will be felt as far north as the Yucatan Peninsula, as far east as Jamaica, and as far south as Colombia. Iota made landfall a few miles south of where Hurricane Eta struck, which could leave the region scarred for generations.
In several cities in Nicaragua’s Rivas region, a strip of land between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean in the nation’s southwest, authorities are monitoring rivers and taking vulnerable families to shelters, the NHC said.
The agency’s photos show people knee-deep in water in Rivas and in Bilwi, on the north coast. Residents of Bilwi, where telecommunications have been affected, were asked to “stay calm, stay away from places that are vulnerable or pose any danger to human security.”
Evacuees on the Colombian island of Providencia
At least two people have died and one is missing in Providencia, Colombian President Iván Duque said Tuesday. One hundred and twelve people were evacuated from the island on Tuesday, including six seriously injured.
“We are happy that, thanks to our preparations and the measures we take, the Providencia community has not been affected by a large number of deaths,” said Duque. “However, we mourn the loss of two people.”
The island’s infrastructure was completely destroyed, Duque said. The priority now is to clear the island of debris and establish emergency camps and field hospitals as quickly as possible.
The local mayor, Jorge Norberto Gari Hooker, had ordered a total curfew since Sunday night and established 15 municipal shelters for the population to take shelter.
The islands of San Andrés and Providencia, located northwest of the Colombian mainland, felt the impact of a Category 5 hurricane for the first time in recorded history, Duque said Monday.
Iota should dissipate near El Salvador by Wednesday night, the Hurricane Center said Tuesday afternoon.
The storm has brought heavy rain. Honduras and much of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize were expecting at least 10 inches and up to 30 inches of rain through Thursday, while areas from El Salvador to Panama can expect 10 to 8 inches, with isolated highs of 12 inches.
“This rain will lead to flash floods and major and life-threatening river flooding, along with landslides in areas of higher ground,” the hurricane center said in its latest watch on Tuesday.
«The waves generated by Iota will affect a large part of the Central American coast and the Yucatan Peninsula during the next day. This increasing surge is likely to endanger life and affect current conditions. ‘
Central America is still recovering from Eta
Iota will be the second major hurricane to hit the area in two weeks. On November 3, Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, causing landslides and floods that displaced thousands and left scores of people dead or missing.
It is the 13th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, a historic season with 30 named storms, the most ever recorded. This is the latest in the year that there has been a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin, according to the Hurricane Center.
More than 3.6 million people in Central America have been affected by the hurricane to varying degrees, the Red Cross said earlier this week.
While the full extent of Eta’s damage will not be known for a while, the powerful hurricane, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, can have effects that last for years.
Eta hovered over Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala for days, with heavy rains causing floods and landslides that wiped out entire communities.
Dozens of people in the remote Guatemalan town of San Cristóbal remain missing after a landslide swept through the site last week.
CNN’s Stefano Pozzebon, Hollie Silverman, Gene Norman, and Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.