Hurricane Iota batters Central America

The Takeaway


A set of devastating hurricanes have pummeled central america on november third hurricane bertha. I struck nicaragua and then made its way through honduras in guatemala. According to the red cross more than two million people in the region were affected by floods and landslides caused by the hurricane and then this week another hurricane hurricane iota made landfall in central america delivering yet another blow to the region. The two storms back to back aren't only devastating to communities in central america but are also complicating efforts to mitigate covid nineteen joining us. Now to talk about what's happening on the ground is jeff ernst a freelance journalists base in honduras. Jeff thanks for being with us after having me. So what are conditions on the ground in honduras right now right now. Much of honduras is is underwater Particularly in the northwest soula valley region which is home to about two million people and putting the second largest in honduras and pedro soula as really the motor of of the country. So the fact that so much of this area in particular is underwater is really indicative of how damaging is given that roughly forty percent of the gdp or more is produced in this region but really After i iota we have much of a widespread damage Across the whole country was a much larger storm so just particularly crest the north coast and the west. They're still a rising waters. Some parts We've last a lot of bridges and roads and other infrastructure and as many people are currently displaced by the flooding. The storm's first struck nicaragua before going through honduras and guatemala. What were the effects in those two countries with evita it. It was damaging but it went through a pretty lowly populated area of nicaragua but iota so much larger that it really hit harder in nicaragua. And even the wins were harder to so nicaragua. We're seeing pretty widespread damage flooding even in the capital of managua and south of it so nicaragua's pretty devastated this point. You you've been reporting on This region in honduras for awhile have. How have the government's responded to effort on the ground. The the government's response has been heavily criticised ahead of eight to actually scheduled the special holiday for that week. In order to try to promote domestic tourism and and stimulate the economy which has been really hit hard by the covid nineteen pandemic and there was a clear reticence by the government to cancel that vacation and so they did not emit alerts or or evacuation orders which led to tens of thousands of people completely caught off guard been and then ended up getting trapped on the roads some for as many as five days and of course that led to more deaths which we really don't know how much yet because the water was never even able to fully recede from eight to before we got hit by iota So there's really some clear negligence by the government here and then with in terms of responding. They're they're completely overwhelmed By it and a complete clearly unprepared and missouri question of how they're spending the resources government just a year ago or just from israel this for war that really has has seen of her for country like and yet they're emergency response. Units doesn't have the votes necessary to be able to deal with the strong currents that we're seen from the flooding in order to rescue people in until the water gets down. Do people are very upset. Definitely more than ever with the government and and this could definitely to even more political instability than we've seen down here in the past and that political instability could also spur more Migration out of the region is that right coming towards A whether that's the united states are moving towards mexico or other places as people try to survive absolutely. There's already people organizing on social media caravans That looks like they're planning for january most of them Whether or not that materializes There's just no doubt. We're going to see an uptick in migration over the next year particularly as covy nineteen travel restrictions are eased You know. I talked to so many people already particularly the young people Who just see no opportunity They have no work and now they've lost everything so they really have nothing to lose And they see migrating as the quickest way to be

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