Hurricane Eta slams into Central America

A Category 4 hurricane has made its way across parts of Central America, Florida and the Caribbean.

Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens

Hurricane Eta has left families reeling after it battered Central America.

Initially making landfall as a category 4 hurricane on November 3, the slow-moving storm has caused extreme damage in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and beyond.

Its heavy rains and resulting flooding and landslides have torn down homes during a time when families need shelter the most to protect themselves from coronavirus.

The hurricane has broken records by being the 28th named storm of this year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season, and it isn’t the last. Tropical storm Iota has now formed and is on track to hit the same area of Central America, and is likely to strengthen into a major hurricane very quickly.

Read on to learn more about Hurricane Eta and find out how we’re helping.

Hurricane Eta Facts

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Who was affected by Hurricane Eta?

Several countries have been in Hurricane Eta’s devastating path.

Around 2.5 million people were affected across Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

In Nicaragua, the affected region in the north-east is extremely remote. The only way to access it by land is via a ferry over the wide Wawa river. This service is now suspended, making driving to the impact zone impossible.

In Honduras, damage to bridges and roads have left 64 communities isolated.

In Guatemala, floods and landslides have left even more communities cut-off. Guatemala has been hit hard, with the official death toll climbing to over 31 people and the number of people affected surpassing 100,000.

The situation is getting worse as more reports come in.

How is ShelterBox helping?

A man in Dominica is using ShelterBox tools to fix his roof, after Hurricane Irma and Maria, 2017.

We are working to help families in Honduras who have lost their homes to hurricane Eta, where 1.8 million people lived in its destructive path.

Flooding and landslides have affected over 2,700 homes in Honduras, with over 38,000 people now staying in temporary collective centres.

This disaster will put more strain on the health and social care systems that are struggling to cope with coronavirus. Honduras has seen 2,804 recorded deaths from coronavirus and over 100,000 confirmed cases.

As if this wasn’t enough, Hurricane Eta has hit during the region’s rainy season which often also sees spikes in seasonal illnesses such as flu and vector-borne diseases including dengue, zika and chikungunya. And now a potential Hurricane Iota is on the way.

Conditions are challenging and we still don’t know the full extent of the damage, but we’re speaking to our Rotary contacts and local organizations to understand the situation. We have stocks of shelter kits and essential household items prepositioned in Panama, ready to be shipped.

How many hurricanes have we seen in 2020?

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season is breaking records for all the wrong reasons, with a whopping 29 named storms so far. 12 of them, including Eta, became hurricanes.

When the regular list of 21 names ended earlier this year, with Tropical Storm Wilfred, the Greek alphabet was used.

This is only the second time the Greek alphabet has been used to name storms. The first was during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, where the last-named storm was Zeta.

Hurricanes explained

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