4.9M PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AMERICA & SOUTH-EASTERN MEXICO AFFECTED BY ETA
3M PEOPLE IN HONDURAS AFFECTED BY ETA
900K PEOPLE IN GUATEMALA AFFECTED BY ETA
CENTRAL AMERICA & MEXICO: 2020 HURRICANE SEASON
Hurricane Iota, currently a Category 4 storm with sustained wind speeds of 245 km/h, is set to strike Central America on 16 November in the evening as a Category 5 hurricane along a projected path that is virtually identical to that of Eta.
The region's second major hurricane in as many weeks, which the United States' National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts will cause up to 400mm of rain, comes as national authorities and regional and national humanitarian organizations are still reaching communities cut off by Eta's destructive impacts over much of Central America and parts of southeastern Mexico, impacts that have affected millions.
Iota's potential effects on vulnerable communities still reeling from Eta stand to create a catastrophic scenario with dire short- and long-term humanitarian consequences.
Iota is the 30th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, now the most active season in recorded history.
Northern Nicaragua, home to scores of vulnerable indigenous communities, are again set to receive the initial strike.
Honduras, still dealing with damage across 155 of its 298 municipalities, is already carrying out evacuations.
Guatemala is bracing for Iota while 10 of its 22 departments are under a state of calamity. Southern Belize is still dealing with receding flood waters that have affected 50,000 people. El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama are again placing all provinces under varying degrees of alert. Mexico, while not directly on Iota's path, reports 238,500 people affected by the combined effects of Eta and a cold front.
TROPICAL STORM ETA
Iota poses a serious threat to Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, especially as authorities continue to raise their counts on affected people in Honduras and Guatemala; Honduras' COPECO civil protection agency now reports 3 million people affected, an increase of 1 million compared to numbers reported as recently as the previous week. Guatemala's CONRED reports 900,500 people directly affected, nearly triple the numbers reported during the same time.
Beyond the immediate response to critical WASH, food security, health and protection concerns, partners are also concerned with field reports from shelters indicating overcrowding and inadequate space, COVID-19 prevention measures or equipment, access to safe water and food supplies and protection. Honduras' Ministry of Health notes a 33 per cent positive COVID-19 testing rate in shelters, while OCHA-led inter-sectoral evaluations in Guatemala confirm high rates as well.
Shelters in northern Honduras are also reportedly experiencing criminal presence and control, violence, genderbased violence (GBV) and family separation, a situation that is bound to deteriorate with the mandatory evacuations taking place ahead of Iota's imminent arrival over concerns of more flooding.