The remnants of Hurricane Iota moved into El Salvador Wednesday, as the storm continues to pound Nicaragua with strong winds and heavy rains even after weakening from a hurricane to a tropical storm. Besides this, heavy rainfall and flooding are also an issue.
Residents remove debris from their destroyed houses after the passing of Hurricane Iota, in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua November 17, 2020.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 35 miles per hour (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Nicaraguan media reported that a landslide had killed at least 15 other people.
Despite the dissolution of Iota, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's remnants could trigger life-threatening flash flooding, river flooding and mudslides across parts of Central America through Thursday.
Storm Iota unleashed devastating flooding in areas already waterlogged with rain on Wednesday (Nov 18), forcing hundreds of thousands of people across Central America to flee their homes as scenes of destruction dotted the already impoverished region.
About 40,000 people in Nicaragua and 80,000 in Honduras were evacuated from their homes, authorities said.
"We're all scared for our lives", said Magdalena Bell, who had taken refuge in a shelter in Puerto Cabezas. On Monday, Category 5 Hurricane Iota, the top level in the Saffir-Simpson scale, made lanfall on the archipelago.
The NHC said Iota could dump up to 30 inches (76 cm) of rain in some areas, compounding damage wrought by Eta.
By Tuesday night, Iota had diminished to a tropical storm and was moving inland over northern Nicaragua and southern Honduras.
This year's Atlantic hurricane season has broken the record for the number of named storms. In Nicaragua, which took the brunt of Iota, almost 90,000 families remained without electricity early on Wednesday, and 63,000 people have remained in state shelters after being urged to evacuate from their homes ahead of Iota's landfall.
Ms Karen Valladares, the head of Honduras' Fonamih migrants agency, warned that the storms' accumulated devastation "will accelerate" local migration to the United States over the next few months.
"Millions of people have already lost everything they had", said Asier Hernando, Oxfam's regional director in Latin America and the Caribbean.