Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020

Su paso deja hasta ahora dos muertos, uno de ellos reportado el lunes en la isla colombiana de Providencia, y otro este martes en la comunidad indígena panameña de Ngäbe Buglé

Hurricane Iota degrades to a tropical storm causing damage in Nicaragua and Honduras

Iota was downgraded to a tropical storm on Tuesday after hitting Nicaragua with heavy rains and winds , where thousands of people were cut off, without water or electricity, while it continues its advance through a Central America devastated two weeks ago by cyclone Eta.

After making landfall in Nicaragua on Monday as a category 5 hurricane (the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson scale), now "Iota has degraded to a tropical storm, with maximum sustained winds of 105 km / h", in the north of Nicaragua and moving forward. to Honduras , he informed the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INET).

His passage has left two dead so far, one of them reported on Monday on the Colombian island of Providencia, and another this Tuesday in the Panama's indigenous community of Ngäbe Buglé.

Stronger than its predecessor, Iota reached Nicaragua as a hurricane with maximum winds of 260 km / h, according to a report from the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC), but then began to lose strength.

Flash floods and river floods that threaten the lives of residents are expected to continue until next Thursday in parts of Central America due to the rains caused by Iota, the NHC warned.

And in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala these phenomena "could be exacerbated by the recent effects of Hurricane Eta," which also made landfall on November 3 in the Nicaraguan Caribbean and left at least 200 dead and 2.5 million affected in Central America.

In Bilwi, the main city in the North Caribbean of Nicaragua, there are "falling trees, electricity poles, the roofs of houses that were blown up in the air and a hotel that lost its entire roof," said the director of the National System. of Prevention, Mitigation and Attention of Disasters (Sinapred), Guillermo González.

The official added that at the moment there are no reports of human losses.

But the real extent of the damage caused by Iota in the area is unknown as communication with Bilwi has been interrupted.

The Telecommunications company (Telcor) reported in a press release that there are serious effects on telecommunications services in that town.

There is no energy in Bilwi and the mining triangle the area is without communication, said business leader José Aguerri on Twitter.

The government reported that 114,200 homes across the country were left without power and 47,638 without water because of Iota.

Strong winds and downpours flooded the Bilwi slums and left the coastal city without power even before the Iota onslaught, AFP journalists observed at the scene.

The wind is too strong, it took everything, the roof and the wooden windows of my house, which is made of concrete, said Jessi Urbina, a neighbor of the El Muelle neighborhood.

Inhabitants of the area assured that the wind tore off the roofs of the houses "as if they were made of cardboard."

Sinapred also warned of potential landslides due to heavy rains in other locations in Nicaragua.

As Iota approached Honduras, military and police evicted residents from risk areas in the Sula Valley region and from riverbanks and landslide-prone neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa.

In the Miskito community of Nueva Jerusalem, in the Caribbean, the winds destroyed the roof of the health center and 38 houses, and uprooted fruit and timber trees, according to a report by the local civil protection body (Copeco).

The institution announced that the heaviest rains will fall this Tuesday in the northern departments of Atlántida, Cortés, Comayagua (center) and Santa Bárbara (west).

On Monday, at least one person died on the Colombian island of Providencia where Iota destroyed about 98% of its infrastructure, according to President Iván Duque on Twitter.

In Guatemala, where Eta left 46 dead and 96 missing, the intermittent rains from the new cyclone began to be felt Monday night, although without causing incidents.

The local Meteorological Institute predicts that downpours will increase on Wednesday and Thursday throughout Guatemala, with the risk of rising rivers, floods, landslides and damage to roads.

In Panama, meanwhile, civil protection reported a dead woman in the Ngäbe Buglé indigenous region, while 2,005 people were sheltered, although the rains decreased in that country.

Thousands of people have been taken to shelters throughout Central America, while the leaders of the region agreed to form a common front to request international resources to help them deal with the damage caused by the two hurricanes.

The current hurricane season in the Atlantic has broken records. Iota is the thirteenth of 30 named storms recorded this year to achieve hurricane status.


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