Death and devastation leave Hurricane Eta in Central America

Storm Eta leaves significant material losses. Photo: Courtesy.

By Iván Castro and Alberto Barrera

MANAGUA / SAN SALVADOR –  Dozens of deceased, thousands of evacuees, destroyed homes, Floods and landslides left the passage through Central America of the storm Eta until Friday, that on Tuesday broke on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua as a category cyclone 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of 5 points.

At least 60 people died mainly in Guatemala and Honduras, according to official reports in both Central American countries.

The Central American Integration System (SICA) reported on Friday that some 3,0 millions of Central Americans were affected by the gale degraded to tropical depression Eta, with which “the Atlantic hurricane season of 2020 one by one 2005 as the most intense ever recorded with 28 storms in both seasons. "

Families evacuated by the constant storm. Photo: Courtesy of the Salvamentos Commandos of El Salvador.

The mighty cyclone, that after making landfall in Nicaraguan territory and razing homes, crops and forests, degraded to a storm and then a tropical depression en route to Honduras and Guatemala, that received huge amounts of rain that caused flooding and landslides.

El Salvador reached a tail of the phenomenon that this time was not cruel to the country, Although a few days before a landslide from the San Salvador volcano caused nine deaths and destroyed some 60 homes in communities near a small stream on the outskirts of Nejapa and near residential and industrial areas north of the capital..

Guatemala had the highest number of victims when a landslide occurred that left at least 50 deceased and the government of Alejandro Giammatei announced together with its Council of Ministers “the state of calamity for nine departments to guarantee aid to the affected population: Izabal, Petén, Alta Verapaz, Chiquimula, Quiche, Zacapa, Jutiapa, El Progreso and Santa Rosa ".

Guatemala, Alta Verapaz one of the most affected areas.
Photo: Courtesy.

"According to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) from Guatemala, with data to 6 November are reported 2,757 evacuated, more of 55,048 affected people, 119 shelters installed, 577 victims and an average of 50 Dead people", said the SICA report.

The regional body added that in Honduras a red alert was decreed throughout the territory from the 12 noon on 4 November and the Permanent Commission of Contingencies Honduras (COPECO) reported seven deaths and two missing persons, as well as more than 350,000 affected and 51 enabled shelters.

In El Salvador, said the SICA, Civil Protection authorities carried out preventive evacuations and have located more than 2,000 people in 48 hostels.

Photo: Courtesy of Cruz Verde de Honduras.

In Nicaragua the National Prevention Prevention System, Disaster Relief and Mitigation (Sinapred) reported no fatalities from Hurricane Eta, although some local media indicated that two artisanal miners died indirectly as a result of the phenomenon.

Before the impact of the hurricane, Sinapred sheltered in schools, churches and other buildings enabled as temporary shelters to some 30.000 people who were removed from their living areas due to the risk of the phenomenon.

SICA said that the United States National Hurricane Center reported that Eta produced heavy rains and floods in several regions of the area., which generated evacuations and rescues in some populations, as well as the provision of shelters for thousands of refugees.

Schools become hostels in El Salvador. Photo: Courtesy.

Currently Eta has maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour and is located at 130 kilometers southwest of La Ceiba, Honduras and reports indicate that it is heading towards Cuba in the Caribbean Sea.

The hurricane entered Nicaragua near the town of Bilwi, Miskito name of Puerto Cabezas, in the northern region of the caribbean, where it caused the destruction of homes, as well as roofs in houses and buildings, falling trees and power lines, as well as the flooding of rivers and floods due to the heavy rain.

Four days after Eta's admission, the authorities still did not give an official account of the damage and were working on the fitting out of roofs in damaged homes in the area.

Families cross rivers to be evacuated. Photo: Courtesy.

The Nicaraguan health authorities indicated that during the emergency caused by Hurricane Eta, 10 baby births at the Bilwi health center. The first birth was registered during the passage of the hurricane near Bilwi and it was a girl, who was christened Eta Wilson.

The National Commission for Risk Prevention and Emergency Attention (CNE), from Costa Rica, reported that they evacuated 1,361 people who stayed in 38 temporary shelters, in order to protect their lives and the Municipal Emergency Committees attended more than 600 flood reports and 304 landslides or landslides on roads.

Despite the decrease and intensity of the winds, the authorities fear the possible effects of the constant rains on the risk of new floods and landslides, so they stay on red alert.