(CNN) — Iota caused devastation in Central America and now the people of the region are forced to survive amid the rubble left by two hurricanes in a matter of weeks.
First, Eta struck Nicaragua on November 3 as a Category 4 hurricane, causing landslides and floods that displaced thousands and left dozens of people dead or missing. Just 25 kilometers from Eta’s landfall near Haulover, Iota struck Tuesday, also as a Category 4 hurricane.
Now, there are at least 16 dead in Nicaragua and two on the Colombian island of Providencia as a result of the disaster, Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo said Wednesday. Among the dead are women and minors. About 99.5% of properties on the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast lack electricity, the country’s National System for the Prevention, Mitigation and Attention of Disasters (Sinapred) reported on Tuesday.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has historically been active, with Iota bringing the count to 30 named storms, the most ever recorded.
Although wind speeds are decreasing, according to an advisory from the US National Hurricane Center, Central America is still at risk of life-threatening flash floods, river floods and landslides. But some parts of the region continue to grapple with overloaded rivers that overflow their banks tearing off roofs and power poles.
At least 40,000 people affected in Nicaragua by Iota
Before the Iota coup, around 3.6 million people in Central America had been affected by Eta, a storm that hung over Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala for days, with heavy rains that caused flooding and landslides that devastated communities. whole.
Dozens of people in the remote Guatemalan town of San Cristóbal remain missing after a landslide swept through the site last week.
And now, more than 400,000 people in Nicaragua have been affected by Iota, the most powerful hurricane to hit the country, Murillo said. More than 50,737 people in the Central American nation remain in government shelters after the storm, Murillo said Wednesday.
The storm has brought heavy rain. Honduras and much of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize expect 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 30. 5 centimeters.
There is almost no communication with the city of Bilwi, also known as Puerto Cabezas, due to blackouts and downed power lines.
How to help
Agency 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.”
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 placing vulnerable families in shelters, the NHC said. .
The Colombian island of Providencia is in mourning
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 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 mayor of Providencia ordered a total curfew from Sunday night and established 15 municipal shelters for the population to take refuge.
The islands of San Andrés and Providencia, located just northwest of the Colombian mainland, felt, for the first time in recorded history, the impact of a Category 5 hurricane, Duque said Monday.
CNN’s Stefano Pozzebon, Hollie Silverman, Gene Norman, and Robert Shackelford contributed to this report.