Central America faces havoc from Iota

Gustavo Palencia and Ismael Lopez
·2-min read

Storm Iota has unleashed devastating floods across Central America in areas already waterlogged, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes in a disaster that has killed more than 30 people.

While numerous villages from northern Colombia to southern Mexico have seen record rainfall swelling rivers and triggering mudslides, cities such as the Honduran industrial hub of San Pedro Sula have also been hit hard.

The city's airport was completely flooded, with jetways looking more like docks, video posted on social media show.

The strongest storm on record to hit Nicaragua, Iota struck the coast late on Monday, unleashing category five magnitude winds and inundating low-lying areas still reeling from the impact two weeks ago of Eta, another major hurricane.

About 160,000 Nicaraguans and 70,000 Hondurans have been forced to flee to shelters.

While Iota had largely dissipated over El Salvador on Wednesday, authorities across Nicaragua and Honduras were struggling with the fallout from the days of heavy rain.

The toll in the impoverished Central American region is expected to rise as rescue workers reach isolated communities.

Most of the dead were in Nicaragua, where authorities say a mother and her four children were swept away by an overflowing river, while a landslide in the north killed at least eight people, with many missing.

In Honduras, five members of a family, including three children, were buried in a landslide that swept away their home near the border with El Salvador and Guatemala.

Two deaths have been confirmed in Panama and one in El Salvador.

In Colombia, authorities said two people were killed when the storm battered its Caribbean islands.

The US National Hurricane Center said Iota's remnants could trigger more flooding and mudslides through Thursday as it drifted west towards the Pacific Ocean.