4M+ PEOPLE IN HONDURAS AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORM ETA AND HURRICANE IOTA
1.2M+ PEOPLE IN GUATEMALA AFFECTED BY TROPICAL STORM ETA AND HURRICANE IOTA
CENTRAL AMERICA: 2020 HURRICANE SEASON
Iota struck Central America as a Category 4 hurricane on 17 November, degrading quickly from a major storm to remnants of a tropical depression along a path nearly identical to Eta and causing even more flooding and wind damage in many communities in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala still recovering from Eta.
The Government quickly deployed teams to conduct evaluations and restore water, access and telecommunications services. Officials indicate affected families are returning to their communities, citing that only 10,400 people remain in shelters, down from a peak of 160,000 before Iota.
Government officials continue to deliver supplies to affected communities, including zinc roofing sheets as part of a plan to distribute 270,000 sheets. Transport authorities say they are close to restoring access to Bilwi, cut off due to the overflowing of the Wawa river, while the Puerto Cabezas seaport reconstruction is underway. Nearly all telecommunications services have been restored. Public health brigades have so far reached 120,000 people.
Per the Permanent Commission for Contingencies (COPECO), the combined impacts of Eta and Iota will have ultimately affected more than 4 million people between Eta’s impact on 3.4 million people and Iota’s impact on more than 738,000 people. There are still 185,000 people estimated to be isolated due to access constraints. COPECO, who reports that there are about 30,500 people still actively working in rescue and salvage operations, says they are still conducting evaluations as weather conditions improve.
Official COPECO information cites 969 shelters hosting 88,700 people. The civil protection authority continue to urge people from communities still at high flood risk to stay in shelters until it is safe to return. Although Iota has cleared Central America, COPECO is keeping all departments under red alert due to soil saturation.
The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) reports that Iota has raised the number of people directly affected by the November storms to more than 1.2 million people, the overall death toll to 59 people and the sheltered population to more than 31,600 in official shelters and nearly 202,800 in unofficial shelters. Iota affected nearly all departments in Guatemala, with the northern and eastern departments previously affected by Eta accounting for the most impact, notably Alta Verapaz and Izabal.
Per inter-sectoral evaluations on Eta’s impact, about 90,000 people in affected neighbourhoods will require WASH response, including restoration of water wells, safe water and hygiene supplies. Alta Verapaz and Izabal report about 17,400 and 12,000 homes with moderate to severe damage, respectively, indicating that those returning home will require tools and supplies for recovery. Many of these households also lost food reserves and crops and are in danger of facing severe food insecurity upon leaving shelters to return to their homes.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.