Disasters & Accidents

Iota death toll in Nicaragua rises to 6

Managua, Nov 17 (efe-epa).- At least six people died Tuesday in Nicaragua due to the effects of Iota, previously a hurricane that made landfall last night in the Caribbean area as a category 4 cyclone.

Among the six killed are two brothers, aged 11 and 8, who died when they tried to cross an overflowing river Solera, in the department of Carazo, according to Vice President Rosario Murillo.

A father and son were buried in a landslide in the municipality of Wiwili, department of Jinotega. They were identified as Carlos and Francisco Carazo, who were in a shelter and returned home to look for their belongings when they were hit by the landslide, according to the information.

Carlos José López Méndez were killed in that same department, according to the official report.

The sixth victim is María de Jesús Duarte, who died when an area of the ravine she was standing on collapsed in the municipality of Quilalí, near the border with Honduras.

Opposition group Blue and White Monitoring has recorded at least four missing persons.

According to the authorities, Iota devastated the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (NCCAR), the poorest and most vulnerable area in Nicaragua, inhabited mostly by Miskito and Mayan indigenous people.

The authorities have not released a report on the damage caused of the passage of the hurricane in the NCCAR, because the area has been cut off, without electricity or telecommunications services.

The authorities are waiting for these services to be restored, and for better weather conditions to reach the territory, made up of eight municipalities, and which was also hit by Hurricane Eta on Nov. 3.

Bilwi (or Puerto Cabezas), the main city of the RACN, has been cut off and without electricity since Monday night after the heavy rains and hurricane-force winds caused by Iota, which also damaged telecommunications services, as confirmed by the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

Some of the houses that had been repaired 13 days before, after Eta, were knocked down by Iota, along with dozens of trees and electrical and telephone lines, reported the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Assistance.

Pacific residents face an anxious wait due to the collapse of telecommunications systems in the Caribbean area, as nothing is yet known about how these populations are affected by Iota.

The eye of Iota made landfall on Monday at 10 pm local time (04:00 GMT Tuesday), in Haulover, south of Bilwi, home to about 350 families with 1,750 people, mostly indigenous people of Miskito origin.

Haulover is a community dedicated to artisanal fishing and tourism, and so far the damage caused by the hurricane that hit that area with winds of 250 kilometers per hour is unknown.

Iota, now downgraded to a tropical storm, also caused flooding in the Pacific zone of Nicaragua.

The authorities maintain a red alert for the Nicaraguan Caribbean, and yellow for the rest of the country, since it does not rule out a major disaster. EFE-EPA

lfp/tw

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