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18 Nov 2020 | 11:20 PM UTC

Hurricane Iota kills at least six and destroys infrastructure November 18

Hurricane Iota kills six and destroys infrastructure across the country on November 18; disruptions to communications expected over the near term

environment
transportation
HND

Event

At least six people have been killed, 61,228 are in shelters, and substantial material damage has been reported as of Wednesday, November 18, as Hurricane Iota swept through Honduras. According to government officials, the six fatalities have been reported in Honduras' western departments of Intibucá and Ocotepeque. The hurricane has caused extensive damage across the country affecting the power supply system, causing landslides and extensive flooding that overflowed the Chamelecón and Ulúa rivers. Flooding has reportedly affected at least 7078 homes nationwide and several families near overflown rivers are still evacuating due to continuous rain, expected to persist until Thursday, November 19, in some parts of the country. A full list of communities subject to evacuation orders can be found here.

The flooding has also affected the Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport (SAP), which is currently only expected to resume operations from mid-December.

Residual disruptions are expected over the medium term as emergency operations are ongoing and further flooding is expected.

Context

Honduras is vulnerable to powerful storms and hurricanes from June to November. These storm systems have the potential to unleash heavy downpours and strong winds as well as storm surges that can wreak havoc in coastal areas. Travel and service delivery are also known to be affected. In addition, storm systems can cause rain-triggered floods and landslides, which pose considerable hazards to both human communities and infrastructure.

Advice

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.

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