Nicaragua: Plan of Action | Hurricanes Eta and Iota, January 2021 (one pager)



Hurricanes Eta and Iota, category 4 and 5 respectively, hit Nicaragua in November 2020. These back-to-back major hurricanes affected 60 per cent of the national territory, hitting the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCN) particularly hard.

With torrential rains and winds upwards of 230 km/h, Eta and Iota trigged intense flooding and landslides which led to the destruction of homes as well as agriculture and fishery-based livelihoods. More than three million people were exposed to these devastating storms, with an estimated 1.8 million people affected.

According to Government estimates, damages amount to US$738 million (6.2% of GDP).

Most affected areas

Preliminary government estimates indicate that the most affected areas following the passage of Eta and Iota were: Jinotega, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Rivas, Chinandega, the RACCN, particularly the Mining Triangle, and the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS).

Most vulnerable groups

The most vulnerable groups include: rural populations, indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, children under 5, youth, the elderly and female-headed households.

Urgent humanitarian needs

Damage and needs assessments conducted by Government institutions revealed significant humanitarian needs in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, food security, education as well as the recovery of livelihoods and agricultural production.

The most pressing humanitarian needs include 500,000 people with limited access to basic health services as a result of damages to infrastructure and losses of equipment and medicines. About 490,000 people have also been affected by damage to drinking water supply systems and sanitation facilities. Another 300,000 people are in need of food assistance and have suffered significant livelihood losses, as 130,000 hectares of coffee, cocoa, breadfruit and other staple crops were damaged. In addition, the large number of houses damaged and/or destroyed has left more than 230,000 people in a vulnerable and precarious situation. In this type of emergency, the risk of sexual and gender-based violence increases significantly.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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