Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 17 November 2020
Hurricane Iota is currently over northern Nicaragua, near the border with eastern Honduras. The storm made landfall late yesterday in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on virtually the same track as Hurricane Eta.
While Iota has since downgraded to a Category 2 storm (with sustained windspeeds of 165 km/h), authorities are concerned about heavy rains, floods and landslides in the north-eastern Caribbean coast, an area still reeling from Eta’s impact. Honduras continues to evacuate people from vulnerable areas across the country amid persistent rains.
A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team deployed in San Pedro Sula (Cortés Department) in Honduras indicates that authorities are concerned about Hurricane Iota’s potential effects on local dams, which are already at the brink of their capacities due to Hurricane Eta.
Water levels may rise as much as 10 metres, according to forecasts. This additional risk comes as humanitarian partners respond to the food security, health, protection, water and sanitation needs of thousands of people in Cortés department.
Meanwhile, intersectoral evaluations are ongoing in Guatemala in support of national authorities. While damage was not as widespread as in Honduras, they are equally as severe in municipalities and communities that suffered Eta’s impact.
The UN and its humanitarian partners continue to call for the protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law, and ways to assess needs and ensure continued humanitarian assistance in areas affected by the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Roads to the Tigray region remain blocked and humanitarian partners are warning that humanitarian supplies will soon be exhausted, putting millions at risk of food insecurity and disease, among other challenges.
To respond to projected needs between November 2020 and January 2021, humanitarian partners have finalized a Humanitarian Preparedness Plan targeting 1.98 million people with multi-sector assistance in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions.
Humanitarian agencies urge donors to rapidly avail much-needed funding so that preparedness activities are carried out to respond once access is granted.
Meanwhile, humanitarian partners in Ethiopia confirmed that the first group of non-essential UN and NGO staff who were relocated from Tigray, through Afar, arrived safely in Addis Ababa last night.
The second group of relocated staff arrived in Semera (Afar), this morning, after a short delay due to insecurity. Approximately 400 staff and foreign nationals have been relocated out of Tigray.