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Hurricane Eta tore up trees and ripped roofs off homes in the northern indigenous regions of Nicaragua. Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
Hurricane Eta made landfall in Nicaragua's Caribbean coast on Tuesday morning. The category 4 storm landed in one of the country's poorest areas, as heavy rains across Central America threatened to trigger deadly floods.
Hitting 140 mile per hour (225 kilometer per hour) winds, Eta tore up trees and ripped roofs off homes in the port city of Puerto Cabezas, in the northern indigenous region of the country.
"The edge of the eye of the storm is already beginning to touch down," said Marcio Baca, head of Nicaragua's meteorology institute.
Ahead of its landfall, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Eta was expected to bring "catastrophic winds, flash flooding, and landlines" to Nicaragua and portions of Central America.
Heeding the warning, Nicaragua evacuated at least 3,000 families on Monday, including fishermen who live in the most vulnerable villages, officials said. Some 20,000 people were taking cover in shelters.
The country's army mobilized red-helmeted troops specialized in search and rescue to the coastal city of Bilwi, which was hit by high winds that uprooted trees and ripped roofs apart, scattering debris through the streets, a day before by the storms advance.
The UN World Food Programme said it had sent 80 metric tons of food for distribution in the region.
"We joined forces to respond immediately, pre-positioning food for the people affected. Our staff have also deployed to the hurricane impacted area so as to support the national response with logistics and telecommunications support," said Giorgia Testolin, WFP Representative in Nicaragua.
Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, tying an all-time record set in 2005, the NHC said.
The storm also affected neighboring Honduras' northern Caribbean coast, dumping torrential rains from its outer bands and causing some rivers to overwhelm their banks Monday.
jcg (AFP, AP)