Humanitarian relief charity Christian Aid is distributing food and hygiene resources across Central America as a lethal category five hurricane barrels across Nicaragua and Honduras.
Hurricane Iota made landfall as a category four storm near the Nicaraguan town of Puerto Cabezas. Almost immediately the storm caused havoc, with patients in the town being evacuated from a makeshift hospital after its roof was ripped off by the winds. The hurricane comes after the country faced torrential downpours when Hurricane Eta struck two weeks ago - Iota made landfall just 15 miles south of where Eta hit on 3rd November.
Iota, however, could be even more devastating, with the director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Earth Studies, Marcio Baca, saying it could be the "strongest hurricane that has touched Nicaraguan soil since records began".
With around 30 per cent of the population in Nicaragua living in abject poverty, Christian Aid says it is absolutely vital that the required help is administered to the affected areas. The group has been partnering up with Soppexcca to distribute food and hygiene kits to 5,000 people and will also refer them for psychological support if required.
Christian Aid says that those in the hurricane's path face serious issues of malnutrition and increased health risks, including Covid-19. Relief efforts are set to focus on remote areas in the north east of the country, where accessibility was already a challenge before these latest two hurricanes. Nearly 150 people were killed across Central America as a result of Hurricane Eta, which caused devastating mudslides.
Moises Gonzalez, Christian Aid’s head of Latin America and the Caribbean, based in the capital, Managua, said: “We - alongside local partners and other agencies working in the region - had barely begun our humanitarian response to Hurricane Eta when we saw reports of a second hurricane, just as powerful. This is particularly worrying for people in temporary shelters who will have no real defence against the elements when the storm hits.
“Back-to-back hurricanes have become a grave reality in recent years and many believe that this may not be the last serious hurricane in this year’s season. People are having to pick up their lives, start again, only to be hit by another hurricane or strong storm. Their resilience is incredible and unfortunately this has become a way of life for many.”