Central America – Dozens Feared Dead as Hurricane Eta Triggers Landslides and Floods

Rain brought by the remnants of Hurricane Eta continues to caused destructive flooding and landslides in Central America, with dozens of people feared dead.

Heavy rain and wind damage was previously reported in Nicaragua and Honduras after Hurricane Eta made landfall on 03 November 2020.

A landslide after heavy rain in landslide Belén Gualcho, Ocotepeque, Honduras. Photo: Honduras National Police.


Guatemala’s Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH) reported heavy rain on 04 November, in particular in Puerto Barrios in Izabal department which saw 296.4mm of rain fall in 24 hours. Over half of the city is thought to have been flooded as a result.

The country’s disaster authority CONRED reported around 100 incidents of flooding and landslides as of 05 November, affecting 55,000 people and displacing 2,277.

According to a report of 05 November by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) most of the incidents are due to flooding in Alta Verapaz, Izabal and Petén.

A state of emergency has since been declared in 9 of the country’s 22 departments: Izabal, Petén, Chiquimula, Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Zacapa, El Progreso, Jutiapa and Santa Rosa.

CONRED reported 5 fatalities and 3 people missing as of 05 November. However, the death toll is likely to rise further after landslides in Huehuetenango, where at least 12 people reportedly died, and in San Cristóbal Verapaz in Alta Verapaz Department, where 25 people are feared dead.

CONRED reported over 55,000 people were affected by Hurricane Eta


The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report that 360,000 people have been affected in Honduras and at least 3,600 displaced, as of 05 November.

Flooding has left dozens of villages cut off after bridges and roads were destroyed. One of the worst hit areas is San Pedro Sula, capital of Cortés Department, where hundreds of people were rescued from flooding.

Associated Press, quoting figures from Honduras National Police, reported 13 people had died in Honduras as a result of Hurricane Eta.

Police and emergency teams carry out flood rescues in Honduras. Photo: Honduras National Police


OCHA said that, although Eta has left Nicaragua, several areas including the capital of Managua are still experiencing persistent rains. Over 30,000 people had evacuated their homes during the storm. Media in Nicaragua reported 2 people died in a mudslide in an artisanal mine.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the government said authorities had received more than 600 reports of flooding and 304 landslides or collapses on roads. A total of 1,361 people woke up in 38 temporary shelters for safety. A red alert has been issued for the cantons of Golfito, Parrita and Quepos which are said to be among the worst hit.

Two people are feared dead after a house was buried by a landslide in the Concepción de Agua Buena sector in Coto Brus.

Heavy rain from Hurricane Eta caused a landslide in Coto Brus, Costa Rica, where 2 people are thought to have died. Phot: CNE Costa Rica


In Panama, The National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) said around 300 families have been displaced by flooding and landslides in the province of Chiriquí. A least 8 people were reported missing in the province.

Over 40 people were rescued after being trapped by a landslide near Gualaca in Bocas del Toro Province. Around 55 homes were damaged by flooding in the province. Flooding also damaged 20 homes in the province of Veraguas and 4 in Coclé.

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