The authorities ask for extreme precautions against the remnants of the storm
MADRID, 18 (EUROPA PRESS)
At least 38 people have lost their lives because of the storm ‘Iota’, which has dissipated in Central America this Wednesday, as reported by the National Hurricane Center (CNH) of the United States, which has warned that the danger still remains of “heavy rains” rigged in its wake.
The latest report from the center indicates that the remains of ‘Iota’ are centered in El Salvador, 35 kilometers northwest of San Salvador and moving west at almost 19 kilometers per hour.
In this sense, the Salvadoran Minister of the Environment, Fernando López, explained that although ‘Iota’ “no longer exists as such, however, we do have the effects,” for which the authorities have urged citizens to take extreme measures. precautions.
The rains caused by ‘Iota’ are also affecting areas of Honduras, Guatemala, southern Belize, Nicaragua and El Salvador, and can result in “flash floods”, the CNH has warned, also warning of mudslides in areas high ground.
In the last two days, ‘Iota’ has crossed Nicaragua, where it made landfall as a category 5 hurricane on Monday, and Honduras, in addition to having devastated the Colombian island of Providencia, leaving behind 38 fatalities.
In fact, before officially entering El Salvador, the storm claimed the life of a motorcyclist this Tuesday afternoon in the department of San Miguel, after a tree branch torn off by strong winds fell.
Minister López has also warned that overflows and landslides are expected as a result of the rains that accompany ‘Iota’. Likewise, the authorities have reported that more than 800 people have already been evacuated to 230 shelters throughout the country and a total of 1,152 centers are prepared to accommodate those in need, according to ‘La Prensa Gráfica’.
In Nicaragua, the vice president, Rosario Murillo, has confirmed that the phenomenon has left at least 18 deaths in Nicaragua, among which are seven minors. Murillo confirmed on Tuesday almost 63,000 displaced people, spread over 683 shelters across the country.
The president’s wife, Daniel Ortega, has acknowledged that the situation has presented “multiple challenges” but “we learned, we continued learning and above all assuming our responsibilities in the face of the disastrous, catastrophic consequences in material terms” that ‘Iota’ has left. .
This Wednesday, the Government reported nine deaths in a landslide that occurred in the community of San Martín de las Peñas Blancas, in the department of Matagalpa, where work is continuing on rescue efforts to locate more missing people.
For its part, the Humboldt Center of Nicaragua has reported that the possible training in the Caribbean that would follow ‘Iota’ has decreased its chances of training from 30 to 10 percent, and has stressed that “at the moment the conditions of cyclonic formation are not optimal. “
DEAD IN COLOMBIA, HONDURAS, PANAMA AND GUATEMALA
On the other hand, in Colombia, President Iván Duque has decreed a disaster situation in the department of the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina and its keys for the next twelve months and extendable for another year due to the damage caused by ‘ Iota ‘, which has left two deceased.
The measure makes it easier for the Government to offer assistance of all kinds to the victims as well as to set up shelters or offer temporary rental subsidies for families who have had to leave their homes due to the hurricane. Likewise, the Executive is committed to the reconstruction of infrastructures and economic reactivation, according to Caracol Radio.
“We regret to report that two people have died and one is missing,” Duque said during his visit on Tuesday to the island of Providencia, where 98 percent of the infrastructure has been affected. “It is the first time that a category 5 hurricane has hit our country,” said the president.
In Honduras, where ‘Iota’ already hit as a tropical storm, it has left 14 fatalities according to the latest balance, after eight bodies have been recovered from a collapse in the department of Lempira.
The Government of the Honduran President, Juan Orlando Hernández, has closed the country’s main roads for fear of rivers overflowing and imposed mandatory evacuations in some departments through which the meteorological phenomenon was going to cross. It has also warned of the possible overflow in the next few hours of the Ulúa and Chamelecón rivers.
On the other hand, in Panama, although the storm has not hit directly, there have been heavy rains and winds. Authorities reported on Tuesday one dead and one missing in the Ngäbe Buglé region. Likewise, hundreds of affected homes have also been reported.
So far, Guatemala has also reported two fatalities as a result of the rains and more than 131,000 affected, according to data provided by the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred). A score of bridges have been damaged in the country and 6,469 people have been evacuated.
Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations continue to draw attention to the impact that ‘Iota’ will have on the region after it was already affected two weeks ago by the passage of hurricane ‘Eta’, leaving thousands of displaced people who had not yet been able to return to their houses.
“‘Iota’ severely damaged productive infrastructure, health facilities, schools and impacted tourism, an important source of income for many. We do not yet have reports of the impact of Iota on indigenous populations on the Caribbean coast of Central America,” he explains José Nelson Chávez, Regional Emergency Advisor for World Vision in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Chávez has expressed special concern for the thousands of people housed in temporary shelters. “The massive evacuation of thousands, the limited access to drinking water and the potential overcrowding threatens thousands of families to become infected with COVID-19,” said a statement.
According to the World Vision advisor, “the difficulties in these temporary centers are already causing incidents of violence against children.” “The suffering of families caused by the loss of their homes, crops and animals is even harder, when we add the risk of getting sick,” he said.
For her part, Vittoria Peñalba, director of sustainability for World Vision in Nicaragua, highlighted that the families in Bilwi, on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, one of the most affected areas, “are in shock, very vulnerable and experiencing many needs.”
“The response teams are exhausted, because they are dealing with the effects left by ‘Eta’ and are now dealing with the ravages of hurricane ‘Iota’, which are not yet quantified, because the rains and winds are very strong in the Caribbean area “, he explained.