At least nine people have died after Tropical Storm Iota hit Central America, according to a latest report released Tuesday, November 17. In detail, Iota has killed at least six people in Nicaragua, including two children, one died in Panama and two others in a Colombian archipelago.
The tropical storm has now entered Honduras, in the country’s eastern Paraiso department, and could reach El Salvador on Wednesday morning, said Francisco Argeñal, chief meteorologist for Honduran civil protection. The government of Honduras has closed the country’s main roads until Wednesday due to the high risk of flash flooding rivers.
After amassing energy in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, Iota made landfall in Nicaragua on Monday as a Category 5 hurricane, the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It then brought strong winds sometimes reaching 260 km / hour, according to the American Hurricane Monitoring Center, the NHC, based in Miami (Florida).
Regions already hit by Eta
The NHC has warned that flooding and flash floods posing a serious threat to people in parts of Central America will continue until Thursday, due to torrential rains brought by Iota.
Many regions had already been hit and weakened by Hurricane Eta, which made landfall on November 3 in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane and killed at least 200 people and affected 2.5 million people.
In Nicaragua, the port city of Bilwi, the main metropolitan area in the country’s Caribbean region, was hit hard, suffering extensive damage. Two children died on Monday as they tried to cross a swollen stream and four other people were killed in various parts of Nicaragua on Tuesday, victims of floods and landslides, the Nicaraguan Vice President said, Rosario Murillo.
Thousands of Bilwi residents remained isolated on Tuesday, deprived of telecommunications, water and electricity. The flooding of the Wawa River also prevented any passage between the region and the rest of Nicaragua.
“Trees fell, as well as electricity pylons, roofs of houses were blown away and a hotel lost all its roof”, said the director of the Nicaraguan civil protection services (Sinapred), Guillermo Gonzalez. More than 110,000 homes are without electricity and more than 47,000 no longer have running water, according to the Nicaraguan authorities.
In Colombia, two people were killed and another was reported missing on two islands, Santa Catalina and Providencia, where much of the infrastructure was destroyed, the president, Ivan Duque, who visited on Tuesday announced. .
In Panama, a woman from an indigenous community has died and some 2,000 people are staying in shelters, authorities say.
In Guatemala, where the previous hurricane left 46 dead and 96 missing, the meteorological institute predicts an increase in precipitation on Wednesday and Thursday across the country on already soggy soils, conducive to flooding and landslides.
Warming seas caused by climate change make hurricanes stronger longer after they make landfall, scientists say. A record 30 tropical storms have been recorded this season in the Caribbean, Central America and the southeastern United States.
The heads of state of Central American countries accuse industrialized countries of being responsible for global warming. They jointly presented a request for reconstruction aid to international financial organizations on Monday.