Hurricane Iota


Nick Jester

The Strongest Atlantic Hurricane of the Year

When a global pandemic is no longer considered the most endangering factor, something’s wrong. After less than two weeks of a separate storm hitting Central America, Hurricane Iota bellowed towards the already stricken countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize and Guatemala. While it is not uncommon for this region to experience these storms, category 5 hurricanes, a description recently attributed to Iota, are the rarest - and most harmful.

Reaching winds up to 160mph (260km/h), the resulting damage has proven catastrophic. A single category 5 hurricane has the probability of destroying most framed homes, making the area uninhabitable for weeks or months. Put this on top of a previous storm, Hurricane Eta (category 4), and the damage is caused exponentially.

Some inhabitants of the stricken areas refused to evacuate their homes with the fear of getting Covid-19. Those who did evacuate returned to rubble, with the strong winds and landslides having destroyed residences, and in some cases, removing them from their sites entirely. 62,000 Central Americans now find themselves in crammed government shelters, with 683 separate shelters having been temporarily established throughout Central America. This leaves all those seeking shelter exposed to the Covid-19 virus. Not only is there a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but essentials such as food and water are beginning to run scarce.

There’s currently a worry for the long term food situation. Hurricane Eta had already destroyed many fields due to landslides, killing crops during their harvesting season. This first hurricane had locals expecting food shortages in the following crop year. However, the uncertainty and fear has increased, with the landslides doubling both in numbers and size due to Hurricane Iota.

An already worsened situation could deteriorate further in the coming year, with natural disasters increasing due to climate change.