Hurricane Iota Leaves at Least 26 People Dead in Central America, as Area Reels From Eta
Less than a month after Hurricane Eta pummeled Central America, Hurricane Iota made landfill with 155-mph winds, killing at least 26 people in the same area.
Iota touched down as an “extremely dangerous” storm in Nicaragua on Monday night, bringing with it a life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides, the National Hurricane Center said. It hit just 15 miles south of where Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 storm on Nov. 3.
At least 16 people died in Nicaragua, including at least seven in a landslide in Matagalpa, the country’s Vice President and first lady Rosario Murillo said, according to the Associated Press.
Miguel Rodríguez, who works on a ranch next to the mountainside, told the outlet that he witnessed the destruction of five different homes.
“The landslide came with all the dirt, and it became like a river going down,” he said. “It took all of the little houses that were there.”
Nearly 300 miles away in Bilwi, 72-year-old Filimon Wilfred also lost his home, leaving him and 18 members of his family homeless.
“The hurricane came, it destroyed my house, my daughter’s house,” he told the AP. “It destroyed five houses in total. Where am I going to live?”
Murillo also said that two children in Nicaragua were killed while trying to cross a river on Monday, ABC News reported.
Meanwhile, in Honduras, at least five people were killed and 61,000 forced to seek refuge in shelters, the outlet reported, citing the Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras (COPECO).
At least two people reportedly died in Colombia, and there was least one victim each in Panama, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The rising death toll comes after Eta killed 130 people in flash floods and landslides in Central America and Mexico earlier this month, the AP reported.
Iota was downgraded to a tropical storm by Tuesday afternoon as it moved across southern Honduras. It dissipated near El Salvador early Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
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