At least two people have been killed, 48,000 others displaced, and substantial material damage has been caused as Hurricane Iota swept through Nicaragua on Tuesday, November 17. According to government officials, the two fatalities have been reported after two children drowned in a river in Santa Teresa (Carazo department). Rescue units were sent to the area in search for the bodies; however, transport has been significantly affected due to extensive flooding in the area. Further information is still awaited as to the true extent of the damage, with further casualties a possibility.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are over 500 shelters in place throughout the country. According to local authorities, thousands of families have had to stay in shelters in the Tola municipality of Rivas department.
The government stated that they have deployed 33,000 members of the emergency services to assist the population across Nicaragua. A red alert on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and a yellow alert for the rest of the country remain in place as further rain is expected until at least Wednesday, November 18.
Residual disruptions are expected over the medium term as emergency operations are ongoing and further flooding is expected.
Nicaragua is semi-regularly affected by tropical storm systems, which can approach from its Caribbean coast from June through November. These storms can be particularly devastating for rural areas, many of which have suffered catastrophic damage from winds and flooding in the past.
Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.