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Iota left at least 38 dead after its destructive passage through Central America and the Caribbean

People sail in boats after floods caused by Hurricane Iota  People sail in boats after floods caused by Hurricane Iota

Iota was dissipating on Wednesday over El Salvador, after leaving at least 38 dead, flooded towns and damage to road infrastructure as a hurricane and then a tropical storm in Central America, a region devastated by cyclone Eta two weeks ago.

The Nicaraguan authorities accounted for the death of 12 people, including seven children, towards the evening of this Wednesday, due to a collapse in a massif in the northern department of Matagalpa and floods in the north and southeast of the country.

Honduras, for its part, closed the day with 14 dead after rescuers found the bodies of eight who died in a landslide in the western department of Lempira.

With this, the number of deaths from the cyclone rose to 38, 18 of them in Nicaragua, 14 in Honduras, two in the Colombian archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, another two in Guatemala, one in Panama and one in El Salvador.

Honduras has suffered severe damage to its infrastructure in two weeks caused by tropical storms Iota and Eta, which were previously category 5 and 4 hurricanes, on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which entered through Nicaragua.  EFE / José Valle Honduras has suffered severe damage to its infrastructure in two weeks caused by tropical storms Iota and Eta, which were previously category 5 and 4 hurricanes, on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which entered through Nicaragua. . / José Valle

Since it made landfall on Monday in the North Caribbean of Nicaragua as a category 5 hurricane – the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson scale – Iota, the second cyclone of the month after Eta, flooded homes and large areas of crops, downed trees, left dozens of villages were cut off and damaged roads.

After degrading to a tropical storm, its “associated moisture remnants” are located 35 km northwest of San Salvador, reported the Ministry of the Environment of that country.

In San Salvador, although the danger of the rains remains, Presidential Commissioner Carolina Recinos stressed that the “prevention work”, with timely evacuations, prevented the country from suffering more victims.

From high-risk areas, 880 people were evacuated to 230 shelters distributed throughout El Salvador.

– Devastated area –

This Wednesday the rains persisted in the northern region of Nicaragua, where its main city, Bilwi, began to assess the damage caused by Iota.

Homes were affected by the Iota pass Homes were affected by the Iota pass

“Leaving Eta to fall in Iota. What Eta had left standing, this hurricane came and finished finishing off ”, lamented the political secretary of the Nicaraguan North Caribbean government, Yamil Zapata, noting that the cyclone ended up destroying much of the infrastructure in that city of more than 40,000 inhabitants.

Zapata assured that there is abundant damage to homes that were left without a roof, to electricity and water services, while the Bilwi dock was totally destroyed.

“The damage is really great”, Zapata told an official media.

This Wednesday Bilwi was still without electricity, but since Tuesday he managed to restore cell phones.

Its inhabitants began to clean up the rubble and try to restore the roofs of their houses with what they could, while the streets of the city are being cleared of rubble.

– Relief in Honduras –

Honduras suffered floods with less than expected rainfall after the eye of the storm swiftly crossed the south of the country.

Tegucigalpa was spared more rains, but the growth of the rivers caused panic in the misery belts of the capital of one million inhabitants, where police and military evicted tens of thousands of people from the hills.

The main floods were observed this Wednesday in the northern cities of La Lima, El Progreso and other communities in the productive Sula valley, in the vicinity of San Pedro Sula, the second city in the country, already punished by Eta.

The heavy rains also hit Guatemala with rivers overflowing and trees falling on roads, among other incidents, according to authorities.

– Climate change –

The double impact of the powerful storms prompted calls to address the effects of climate change and requests for international aid.

Debris from the disaster left by Hurricane Iota in its wake Debris from the disaster left by Hurricane Iota in its wake

Iota and Eta are part of the blow of climate change in Central America, which in a few days have left mourning and destruction ”, The coordinator of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit NGO, Mauricio Sermeño, told ..

The ecologist warned that the impact of meteorological phenomena “cannot be mitigated with few resources,” so he called on the international community to help Central America.

The OAS on Wednesday called on international financial and development institutions to provide rapid access to resources for affected countries for the two storms for humanitarian and reconstruction work, two days after the presidents of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Costa Rica called for international aid in the face of the devastation caused by the hurricanes.

“The lesson left by Iota and Eta is that governments have to alleviate the poverty that makes millions of people vulnerable because, lacking resources, they build houses in vulnerable areas”, summarized Sermeño.

With a little more than 520,000 km2 and 50 million inhabitants, Central America usually suffers the passage of hurricanes that form in the Caribbean, in addition to the thirty active volcanoes and the constant earthquakes for being part of the Ring of Fire of the Pacific Ocean.

(With information from .)

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