Eta’s Path of Destruction Continues With Flooding in Central America


A boy and a man save chairs from a flooded house due to the heavy rains caused by Hurricane Eta, now degraded to a tropical storm, in Puerto Barrios, Izabal, north of Guatemala City on Nov. 5, 2020. JOHAN ORDONEZ / AFP via Getty Images

The storm formerly known as Hurricane Eta slowly dragged across Honduras Wednesday, dumping heavy rains across the region and prompting emergency flood and landslide warnings.

A 15-year-old boy drowned in a rain-swollen river, bringing the storm’s direct death toll to four. Hundreds of homes were destroyed by floodwaters in San Pedro Sula alone, according to the city’s mayor. At least 38 Honduran communities have been cut off by washed-out roads, and five bridges in the country were wiped out by swollen rivers.

La Prensa Nicaragua also reported multiple Indigenous communities were forced to self-evacuate and were caught unaware after officials failed to warn them of Hurricane Eta’s arrival. Some of those communities are the same that were violently attacked by settlers earlier this year. Eta, which is now a Tropical Depression but may strengthen to a Tropical Storm, is currently projected to hit Cuba and Florida, bringing heavy rains and flooding to the Southeast U.S.

As reported by The Associated Press, Eta left destruction across the city of Bilwi on the northern Nicaragua coast:

“The debris teams are starting to work and we still can’t give a sense of what happened,” said Ivania Díaz, a local government official in Bilwi. “We have seen very humble homes completely destroyed.”

South of Bilwi, closer to where Eta came ashore Tuesday, the seaside Miskito community of Wawa Bar was devastated. The military had evacuated the community before Eta hit, but what residents found Wednesday was distressing. Wind-twisted trees, shredded roofs and some structures damaged beyond recognition sat within view of the sea.

“There’s nothing standing here,” an unidentified resident told a local television station. “Wawa Bar is now a Miskito community where destruction reigns.”

For a deeper dive:

AP, La Prensa HN (es); Indigenous communities: La Prensa NI (es); Expected track: Miami Herald; Climate Signals background: Climate Signals background: Hurricanes, 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

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