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At least 22 dead in Central America after Hurricane Iota as rescue crews work through flooding and debris

By Jimena Tavel, Jacqueline Charles and Syra Ortiz-Blanes, Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

Atxaerandio, with the Red Cross in Honduras, said Nicaragua and Honduras were the hardest hit by Iota among the seven countries in Central America. In Nicaragua, the destruction is centered in the northeastern coast, while in Honduras it encompasses the entire country.

Atxaerandio said he's most worried about dams that are at near full capacity in Honduras, even as heavy rainfall continues in some areas.

Because shelters are over capacity in Honduras, so many people who became homeless after Eta weathered Iota in makeshift tents and tarps on the streets, he said.

"We're very worried," he said. "Obviously we're trying to help them first, because their vulnerability is higher, but it's difficult."

Atxaerandio said he hopes the international community sends in more help soon, because "considering the tragedy we're seeing, we don't consider what we're getting enough."

Reynaldo Francis Watson, the former regional governor of the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region and ex-mayor of the indigenous city of Puerto Cabezas, said he visited four hurricane shelters across the port city on Wednesday.

 

Watson estimated that about 5,000 to 6,000 people, a mix of people of all ages and genders from the city and from surrounding indigenous communities, had evacuated to Puerto Cabezas. Many refugees, he said, were still in a state of shock.

"People are not doing well, they are disoriented, worried, then they start laughing, then stop," Watson said.

Two of the shelters he visited had serious damage to the roofs and infrastructure. There was no power. Rainwater leaks through the cracks and holes as gusts of wind chill the insides.

"People need water, food, mattresses, blankets, clothes. Some of them left their communities quickly and left everything because it was an emergency," Watson said, adding some elderly do not have the medicines or adult diapers they need.

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