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Hurricane Iota, a category 5 storm, made landfall in Nicaragua 16 November, 2 weeks after Hurricane Eta swept through the region causing destruction (see our warnings). Iota started to progressively decline in strength as it moved over land and was downgraded to a tropical storm, before disappearing in the night of 18 to 19 November in El Salvador. According to the US-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC), flooding and landslides are however expected to continue today, 19 November, in the region due to heavy rain, which is currently persisting across the north of Nicaragua.

Partial regional casualty figures indicate that at least 38 people have lost their lives in Hurricane Iota, which has also left major material damage.

14 people have been killed in Honduras, notably in landslides in Lempira, Ocotepeque and Intibuca. Nicaragua has also reported 18 people killed in flooding and landslides. Loss of life has equally been announced in a Colombian Caribbean archipelago (Santa Catalina and Providencia), in Panama and in El Salvador. Although rivers have burst their banks and trees have fallen, no deaths have been reported in Guatemala according to the authorities.

Iota has caused severe damage to infrastructure, which had already been weakened by Hurricane Eta, especially in Nicaragua.  According to the Nicaraguan authorities, more than 110,000 homes still have no power and more than 47,000 have no running water.

In Guatemala, 19 November the US Embassy warned its citizens of the risk of destructive lahars downstream of the Fuego Volcano, located not far from the capital. The flanks of the volcano are said to have been weakened by heavy rain in recent days and the channels of the Rio Cenizas and Rio Guacalate are of most concern. The towns of Escuintla and Siquinalá are believed to be the most at threat.

We remind you that Hurricane Eta, which made landfall in Bilwi (Nicaragua) 3 November, had left more than 200 people dead and missing, including 150 in Guatemala and 60 in Honduras.

Ongoing disruption should be expected in the region in the coming days and weeks.

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