Some 30 people have died in several Central American countries as a result of Hurricane Julia, which despite having been downgraded to tropical storm status has left behind a trail of destruction that authorities are now trying to deal with.
‘Julia’ formed last Friday and made landfall in Nicaragua over the weekend as a category one hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale of five. The government of Daniel Ortega decreed the maximum alert and has not yet given a clear detail of what happened, since according to the vice president, Rosario Murillo, “that will be ready later”.
The Damage and Loss Evaluation Committee will be in charge of putting figures to these ravages, after several rivers have overflowed, according to the official Canal 6. Classes have been suspended in principle until this Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Education.
Firefighters on Monday recovered the body of a 17-year-old girl swept away by the current in the department of Boaco, reports the newspaper ‘La Prensa’.
In Honduras, authorities have confirmed at least four deaths, including a six-year-old girl and her father who lost their lives in the area of La Mosquitia. A third person died in the same place, while the fourth victim is a woman swept away by the current in Choloma, in the north of the country.
The Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECO) has warned that, despite the fact that ‘Julia’ has already left Honduras behind, the country may still suffer heavier than normal rainfall this Tuesday, especially in the south and west.
Meanwhile, the passage of the storm through El Salvador has also resulted in numerous damages and the overflowing of at least eight rivers. In total, emergency services estimate that at least ten people have lost their lives, among them five Salvadoran soldiers buried by the collapse of a house in which they were sheltering in the municipality of Comasagua.
The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who had decreed Monday as National Day of Prayer to “ask God for protection” before the arrival of the storm, acknowledged at the last minute that it had been “a tragic day” for the country.
In Guatemala, President Alejandro Giammattei has decreed a state of calamity in order to have more room to take “urgent measures” to deal with the emergency. “What worries us most at the moment is the remaining water, and very heavy rains are expected in the next 72 hours,” warned Giammattei after holding a crisis cabinet.
The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred) has responded to “224 incidents” that have affected more than 450,000 people. Authorities estimate that some 167,000 homes have been left without electricity supply, according to the newspaper ‘Prensa Libre’.
As of Monday night, emergency services had confirmed at least 13 deaths from the storm. Five of these victims correspond to a landslide in the area of Panzos, in Alta Verapaz, while three others died from another landslide in Santa Eulalia, in Huehuetenango.