Before Hurricane Eta downgraded to a tropical storm she wreaked havoc in countries throughout Central America including Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Tropical Storm Eta brought heavy rainfall to parts of Cuba, the Bahamas, and southern Florida on Monday afternoon after crossing over the Florida Keys.Eta has made landfall at least twice before, in Cuba on Sunday morning and as a Category 4 hurricane in Central America last week, leaving several dead in its wake.
Cuba and Mexico have emergency disaster plans in place while relief efforts are being made for Guatemala and Honduras, which were hit the hardest hit so far. In Honduras, at least 57 people have died, eight people remain missing and more than 60,000 have been evacuated from their homes, according to the country’s Permanent Contingency Commission, CNN reports.
“This is the worst storm Honduras has seen in decades. The damage will undoubtedly be significant,” Mark Connolly, UNICEF representative in Honduras, said to Al Jazeera. Connolly estimates that about 1.5 million children there will feel the effects of Eta.
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While Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday the number of dead and missing were estimated to total about 150. Guatemala’s National Disaster Reduction Coordinator (CONRED) reported Saturday that 116 people remain missing, mostly due to the landslide in the remote village of Quejá, in the central region of Alta Verapaz in North Central Guatemala where about 150 houses were overtaken by mudslides. At least 8,938 people have been evacuated and 5,780 remain in temporary shelters, the agency said, CNN reports.
Two artisanal miners were killed in Nicaragua, while in southern Costa Rica, a landslide killed two people in a house, Reuters reports. Panama reports that 17 people have died there and 62 are missing after landslides with 3,332 affected, PanaTimes reported. In Chiapas in southern Mexico at least 20 people were reported dead after flooding and landslides, the Associated Press reported while there have been at least five deaths in neighboring Tabasco, Diario de Tabasco reported. This is one of the most powerful storms to hit Central America since the deadly Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which caused 11,000 fatalities in Central America.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami is currently accepting donations to help with relief throughout the region. There’s also a Go Fund Me set up for those affected in Honduras while Food for the Poor has set up an Eta emergency relief fund. Catholic Relief Services also set up an Eta emergency fund to help families in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatamala and Fundación Lourdes Fugón is collecting donations for Honduras.