Hurricane Eta claims lives, causes destruction in Central America
Hurricane Eta, which weakened Wednesday evening to a tropical depression, claimed lives and still has days of devastation in store for Central America before it is set to head toward the US coast.
The death toll in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras passed 50 on Thursday. Storms have battered Central America over the past two days.
Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei said that three landslides have left at least 37 dead and thousands without shelter.
Mudslides around the town of San Cristobal Verapaz, near the Guatemalan capital has buried about 25 homes. “Right now, we’re trying to get there on foot because there’s no other way,” Giammattei said, referring to flooded roads in the town.
Two other landslides in Huehuetenango had killed at least 12 more, he said.
In Honduras, authorities confirmed 13 deaths.
“The situation is serious, it’s shocking and needs to be dealt with professionally, fast,” Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez told local television network HCH earlier on Thursday.
Damage and destruction had spread across the “vast majority” of Honduras and speedboats and helicopters would be sent to rescue people in inaccessible areas, Hernandez added.
What about Nicaragua?
Two miners were reported to have died in a mudslide in Nicaragua and eight people have been reported missing in Panama.
Eta, one of the fiercest storms to hit Central America in years, tore into Nicaragua on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane but has since weakened to a tropical depression.
The storm was forecast to head toward Cuba and possibly into the Caribbean by early next week. Heavy rains continued, and the storm’s sustained winds up to 35 mph (56 kph).