The authorities, citizens and tourists of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina remain on high alert due to the passage of Hurricane Iota in the next few hours, according to the US National Hurricane Center, which has turned into a hurricane as it passes through the island type 3 (on a scale from 1 to 5), with winds that would be between 96 and 112 knots.
San Andrés has not fully recovered from Hurricane Eta, which passed a week ago, with winds of 25 knots, leaving two people injured, 141 families affected, six homes destroyed and 64 more damaged, as well as 24 commercial establishments and a center affected community.
“There is a strong impact on Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands where the effects are already beginning to be felt, with moderate rains and winds of up to 34 knots (63 km / h) with a pressure of 1004 millibars with a downward trend”, Dimar indicated in a statement at the end of the afternoon this Sunday.
The director of Ideam, Yolanda González, said on the morning of this Sunday about Iota that “it is estimated that between Sunday night, early morning and Monday morning it will approach the archipelago and be closer to the north of the island of Providencia “.
He also said that there is a probability of “heavy rains, accompanied by thunderstorms, increased waves, storm surges, strong winds, hurricane force winds and gusts of wind.”
Iota is heading towards Nicaragua and Honduras, countries also hit by Eta and which are now getting ready to receive the impact of what in the next few hours could become a major category 4 hurricane.
The coordinator of Risk Management of San Andrés, Walden Downs, explained to the press agency ‘Efe’ that in the face of the imminent passage of Iota, local authorities are taking measures to reduce the impact that the hurricane may cause.
As an example of this, he put that the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management, Ungrd, donated machinery to “clean the river channels”, as well as eight pumps for the “river water drainage” are already ready.
“We have already gone directly through the neighborhoods, with the community action boards, cleaning the gutters, the drains. We have enabled four temporary shelters in the upper area of the island or two more in the lower part,” he explained.
In the shelters, Downs explained, there will be medical personnel who will take COVID-19 tests from people who arrive there to have a control in case there are people infected and to avoid a coronavirus outbreak.
“We have a preventive task with the operating entities that are cutting down and pruning trees that may be obstructing or that may fall on public roads, or that may fall on infrastructure,” added the official.
Likewise, the Government of San Andrés decreed a curfew from 3 in the afternoon of this Sunday until 5 in the morning of Monday, while it restricted the “use of beaches and development of nautical activities for raizales (natives of the island , with English and African ancestry and their own language, Creole), residents and tourists until further notice. “
Meanwhile, Civil Aeronautics ordered the closure of air operations at El Embrujo Airport, on the island of Providencia, due to the gradual deterioration of meteorological conditions that affect operations and put the safety of travelers at risk.
The conditions reported by Ideam also indicate the presence of connective cloudiness over the Caribbean Sea, rainfall and intensity of wind strengthening towards the archipelago.
Therefore, the aeronautical authority carries out permanent monitoring of the situation.
The closure of the airport is initially scheduled until 9:00 am this Monday, but it may be prolonged depending on the development of the natural phenomenon, since the physical infrastructure of the air terminal is also threatened, the entity said.