Degraded to a tropical storm, ‘Iota’ leaves 63,000 evacuees in Nicaragua

The countries of the region are mobilizing to mitigate the ravages of the second hurricane in two weeks

MADRID, 17 (EUROPA PRESS)

Hurricane ‘Iota’, which has weakened to a tropical storm, has left Nicaraguan territory and is now over Honduras, where it is leaving heavy rains throughout the country. So far, six people have died in Nicaragua and one in Honduras after passing through the Central American isthmus.

Currently, ‘Iota’ is located in Honduran territory, about 55 kilometers from Tegucigalpa, according to the Humboldt Center, with sustained winds of 80 kilometers per hour and is moving at a speed of 19 kilometers per hour. It continues traveling the pre-established route and advances towards El Salvador and Guatemala, as reported by the National Hurricane Center (CNH) of the United States.

In this sense, the Permanent Commission of Contingencies of Honduras (COPECO) has reported that the Government of Honduras continues to evacuate families who are in danger zones.

Meteorologists expect it to be a depression already near El Salvador and Guatemala, although in Nicaragua the rains will persist due to the remnants, so the authorities have asked that the alerts be maintained and the recommendations followed.

If the forecasts are fulfilled, ‘Iota’ will continue advancing until entering Guatemala through the department of El Paraíso, already moving like a tropical storm through the regions of Francisco Morazán, Choluteca and Valle, heading to El Salvador.

Despite having degraded, ‘Iota’ has so far left in Honduras one deceased, seven injured and flooding of rivers, affected road sections, weakened bridges, fallen trees and cuts in electricity and internet services. In addition, material damage has been recorded, such as the destruction of homes.

La Mosquitia, Tocoa, La Ceiba, Tela, El Progreso, La Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and various areas of the western part of the country are being the territories most affected by the rains, although the entire country is being affected by the rainfall.

“This hurricane, ‘Iota’, with the amount of water and winds that it brings, has a potential for enormous destruction and could cause terrible devastation,” said Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in a speech to the nation at the He recalled that ‘Mitch’ also became category 5 in 1998.

Hernández has tried to make the population aware of the risks of the storm and has called for compliance with evacuations, mandatory in ten departments of the country. The authorities have set up more than half a thousand shelters to serve the displaced, according to the Honduran newspaper ‘La Prensa’.

The alert also extends to El Salvador, where three days of rain are expected from this Tuesday, about a thousand shelters have already been set up in high-risk areas and about 700 people have been evacuated. The president, Nayib Bukele, has emphasized the need for a “massive deployment of personnel and preventive evacuations.”

“We better be alarmists and do not lament after we could have done more,” said Bukele, who has also appealed to Central American solidarity so that the region can rise again from the damage that ‘Iota’ may cause in its wake. .

The Minister of the Interior, Mario Durán, who recalled that El Salvador remains on red alert, has specified that around 130,000 people are working preventively against the meteorological phenomenon, as reported by ‘La Prensa Gráfica’.

In Guatemala, warnings have also been issued so that the population is alert, with evacuations in the areas that may be most affected in the coming hours. The Guatemalan authorities have also mobilized humanitarian aid to assist those affected by the storm.

DEVASTATION OF ‘IOTA’ AS IT PASSES THROUGH NICARAGUA

The hurricane, which reached category 5 on Monday on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the maximum, made landfall in Nicaragua with maximum sustained winds that have been around 250 kilometers per hour, making it one of the strongest cyclones powerful that hit the Central American country when it had not yet recovered from the ravages caused by the passage of ‘Eta’.

The hurricane has quickly lost strength already on land, until it is downgraded to category 2, with winds of 165 kilometers per hour, according to the CNH.

However, the eye of ‘Iota’ has entered Nicaragua through the Haulover area, near Puerto Cabezas, as “the most powerful hurricane that has touched Nicaraguan land since there are records of tropical cyclones,” the head of Meteorology has warned. of the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (Ineter), Marcio Baca, according to the newspaper ‘La Prensa’.

Thus, despite the loss of strength as it has been entering the continent, Baca has warned that it still has “potential for destruction”, which is why it has urged citizens to take extreme precautions and follow the recommendations. The rains have been a constant throughout the area and the water level has also increased.

The vice president of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, has confirmed that ‘Iota’ has so far left six dead and 63,000 evacuated. The deceased are two minors who have drowned in a river in the municipality of Santa Teresa, in Carazo, a woman in Nueva Segovia, two people in the Wiwilí community, Jinotega, and one in Santa Ana. Regarding the evacuees, there are in the 561 shelters set up throughout the country.

Murillo stressed that the Government, which maintains the red alert on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, is working to guarantee the safety of families.

In this sense, he applauded the work of the security forces and emergency services – “all working to ensure that we are as safe as possible” -, as well as humanitarian agencies and NGOs that assist vulnerable people, Channel 6 reports.

‘Iota’ has caused in Nicaragua the overflow of rivers and channels throughout the country, such as El Dorado as it passes through Managua, as well as landslides, while it has isolated the northern Caribbean coast of the country, which continues with the suspended water, electricity and communication networks.

STEP BY COLOMBIA

The first territory in the region to suffer the passage of ‘Iota’ was the Colombian island of Providencia, where at least one person has died and 98 percent of the infrastructure has been affected.

The president of Colombia, Iván Duque, has indicated that the country “had never faced a category 5 hurricane” and explained that “they are removing obstructions in the main roads and cleaning the runway of the El Embrujo airport to get there. (Island of Providencia) “.

Cartagena will serve as the stage to coordinate the dispatch of humanitarian aid, equipment and materials for the victims of the San Andrés and Providencia archipelago, according to Caracol Radio. Duque has announced that this Monday night a second military frigate, with helicopters, has set sail to attend the emergency.

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