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Nicaragua declares preventive alert as Tropical Storm Eta threatens

November 1, 2020

The president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, declared on Saturday a preventive alert in the Caribbean and northern Pacific regions of the country in response to Tropical Storm Eta.

“A yellow alert status is declared for the North Caribbean Autonomous Region” and the departments of Jinotega and Nueva Segovia, in the North Pacific, the president announced in a statement.

The announcement came when Eta was still a tropical depression located 1,200 km east of Bilwi, the main port of the Nicaraguan northern Caribbean. It has since become the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

Eta is expected to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall early Tuesday.

The northern areas of Nicaragua could be affected with “strong winds, storm surges, heavy rains with flooding in the low coastal areas of the coastline and riverbanks,” the government warned.

The yellow alert empowers city halls to take the necessary measures to attend to the population in case of emergency, mobilize resources to prepare shelter centers and ensure means of transportation and communication.

As a first step, the naval force and fishing companies are helping to evacuate the indigenous Miskito families living in the Miskito Cays, off the coast of the northern Caribbean, Sinapred director Guillermo González told the official Channel 4.

The indigenous municipality of Waspán, on the Coco river, bordering Honduras, is preparing a similar plan to assist communities in case of emergency.

The government also asked “to ensure that early warning and activation mechanisms work for communities from critical points to storm surge, high winds, floods and landslides.”

Tropical Storm Eta and Costa Rica

While Eta is not forecast to make landfall in Costa Rica, the National Hurricane Center of the United States estimates up to a 20% chance that the national territory will receive tropical storm force sustained winds (>34 KTS) over the next five days.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) has placed much of Costa Rica under a Yellow Alert, instructing local governments to prepare shelters in the event of an evacuation.

On Sunday morning, the CNE instructed the population to “exercise extreme precautions in mountainous parts of the entire country.”

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