Hurricane Eta Makes Landfall with Predictions of Over 1.2 Million Affected in Nicaragua Alone

Nov 03, 2020

Over 1,200,000 Nicaraguans affected by Hurricane Eta Says UNICEF. As Hurricane Eta hits Central America, relief agencies get ready, while the region hopes to avoid another Hurricane Mitch.

Hurricane Eta slammed into Nicaragua‘s northern Caribbean coast today, near Puerto Cabezas (Bilwi). It’s the first hurricane to directly hit Nicaragua since Felix in September 2007.

Landfall began at 4:30 AM, according to Nicaragua’s disaster relief agency, SINAPRED. Eta hit as a category 4 hurricane with winds of 225 km/h.

The storm will move across northern Nicaragua, into Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize before heading back out into the Caribbean.

The next few days will see up to 30 inches of rain in the region, with the real danger of landslides and flooding. Despite extensive damage to Puerto Cabezas, there are no fatalities so far. Honduras, however, reported one fatality in a collapsed building.

In Nicaragua alone, UNICEF expects over 1,200,000 people to be affected by Eta.

Half a million of them are children, according to a statement on UNICEF’s website. In the statement, UNICEF said it had a “joint response plan” to help affected areas.

“As part of our planned response, UNICEF is working with the Government and our partners to reach children and families with urgently needed support,” said the UNICEF deputy representative for Nicaragua, Paolo Sassaro.

“These efforts include providing water and hygiene supplies and disseminating risk and safety messaging to communities. We are also coordinating closely with authorities to ensure that shelters are suitable, safe and equipped with the necessary provisions for children.”

Elsewhere in Central America.

In Honduras, authorities issued a red alert for half the country. The rest of Honduras is under yellow alert. Flooding has already began in many places, including La Ceiba on the Caribbean coast.

Belize also remains in a state of high alert. Forecasts expect Eta to clip the south of Belize on its way back out into the Caribbean. Once back over the sea, fears are it might reform into a hurricane again off Belize’s coast.

Guatemala is also starting to see strong winds and rain.

Yesterday President Alejandro Giammattei urged citizens to follow the advice of CONRED, the disaster relief agency.

Costa Rica and El Salvador also expect a lot of rain over the coming days, although neither country is in the direct path of Hurricane Eta. El Salvador has begun evacuating people from flood-prone areas in anticipation of the rains to come.

All Central Americans all have vivid memories of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. In the wake of that storm, mass-flooding and landslides killed over 11,000 people.

James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.