Hurricane Iota lands a new blow onto Central America, Oxfam ready to respond

Published: 17th November 2020

Millions of people in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, already hit earlier this month by damage from monster hurricane Eta, are now facing an even bigger crisis from Iota, a category five hurricane that made landfall overnight on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.

COVID-19 infections could rise exponentially as a result of these consecutive hurricanes and overcrowding shelters, Oxfam warns.  

“Iota will have a devastating impact on areas already hit by hunger, drought, COVID-19 and the calamity visited earlier from Eta. Millions of people have already lost everything they had,” said Asier Hernando, Oxfam’s Regional Director in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Heavy rains and winds resulted in flash floods, rivers to overflow and landslides. Hurricane Eta, the most powerful cyclone that hit Central America in years, hit the region last month, impacting more than 6 million people.

Oxfam, together with local partners, continues to provide humanitarian response in Central America. To date, Oxfam has reached 32,500 people affected by the emergency with food, hygiene kits, and shelters support to shelters.

“Oxfam is on the ground and now assessing the damages caused by Iota. There had already been a lot of damage to infrastructure caused by Eta and this urgently needs attention. We’ve had to temporarily suspend our on-going relief operations because of this new storm Iota, we cannot risk the lives of the people who are providing the response," said Gloria García Parra, Oxfam's Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Humanitarian aid is urgently needed to help Oxfam and its local partner organizations to provide vital lifesaving support to people impacted.

Notes to editors

  • The passage of Storm Amanda through Guatemala and El Salvador in May and the Nejapa landslide, also in El Salvador, had already caused significant damage and losses in the region, affecting the most vulnerable families.
  • Oxfam is currently working to address the food insecurity caused by the drought in the Central American Dry Corridor, as well as, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with 10 local partner organisations, Oxfam teams are currently identifying the extent of the damage in the most affected areas.
  • The Central American region has been hit by COVID-19 with more than 260,000 cases already registered.

Contact information

Alejandra Aguilar in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | | 829 679 2806

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