Hurricane Iota Causes Flooding in Honduras, Nicaragua

Friday, 20 Nov, 2020

Experts say the destruction caused by the unprecedented 2020 hurricane season in Central America could spur more migration out of the region, which is coping with insecurity and an economic crisis triggered by coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns imposed earlier this year. This week, numerous same areas were then also hit by Hurricane Iota.

Iota made landfall in Nicaragua as a "catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane on Monday, but its remnants will continue to be deadly through Thursday even as 2020's biggest Atlantic storm subsided over El Salvador.

About 40,000 people in Nicaragua and 80,000 in Honduras were evacuated from their homes, authorities said.

World Vision, a Christian organization, said more than 2 million were in the path of Iota when it hit, calling on governments, donors, businesses and global aid agencies to provide funds to respond to the emergency. The giant hurricane slammed the country on Monday at its most powerful, leaving 18 dead, including two children who were trying to cross a river in the south.

On Wednesday CD-SINAPRED tweeted images of the disaster relief group COMUPRED in the Boaco area helping families affected by the heavy rains.

Two people died on Colombia's offshore islands, two more were recorded dead in Guatemala, and one woman was killed in an indigenous community in Panama.

Hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Eric Blake described Hurricane Iota as a "catastrophic situation unfolding for northern Honduras with an extreme storm surge of 15- to 20-foot forecast along with destructive winds and potentially 30 inches of rainfall".

Although the system no longer has the 160-mph winds it boasted earlier this week, Iota is still managing to churn out maximum wind speeds of 30 miles per hour, according to the NHC.

El Salvador presidential official Carolina Recinos said timely evacuations prevented the country suffering a higher toll. Then, Hurricane Iota left widespread devastation when it made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Nicaragua's northeastern coast.

Storm Iota unleashed torrential flooding in Central America yesterday, causing swollen rivers to burst their banks as it flipped roofs onto the streets, and downed electricity poles and trees, killing at least two people in the region. Nicaragua's telecommunications ministry said phone and broadband provider Columbus Networks was offline because of flooding in Bilwi.

After Eta, families in Nicaragua tried to rebuild their homes, but Iota likely destroyed these.

Duque said Tuesday morning in a press conference that they had prepared for infrastructure to be devastated by the storm, and he said late Tuesday that they have begun rebuilding in Providencia Island, which was severely damaged.