As of early Tuesday, a tropical storm warning had been in effect on part of the coast of Honduras that stretches to the Guatemalan border. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, up to 20 centimeters of rain is expected in southeastern Guatemala.
Guatemala is still being excavated from Eta, which has left hundreds of cities under water and displaced close to 200,000. Entire villages have lost access to drinking water, food and medicine, aid groups said.
“If Iota hits with the power they predict, it will be chaos,” said Francisco Muss, a retired Guatemalan military general who coordinates rescue efforts. “I don’t think we’re starting to understand the impact of this crisis in terms of a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Mr Muss said the government had failed to enter even about 100 villages hit hard by Eta, noting that about a quarter of those were in critical conditions “due to lack of food, hunger, thirst and disease.”
Now, as Hurricane Iota collapses, rescue teams are rushing to the cities left stranded by Hurricane Eta.
“We are racing the storm to get supplies for these people, because now they can’t go, they have nowhere to go,” said Sofía Letona, director of Antigua Rescue, a local aid group that distributed food and medicine to hundreds of people who Eta displaced. “They left the houses in the middle of the night, left everything, got wet and carried the children. And now comes another. ”
Ms. Letona said her group set up makeshift clinics in remote areas where people sought protection from Eta and discovered a widespread disease among those who fled their homes, including gastritis, fungal infections and mosquito bites. Some said they had headaches, coughs and flu-like symptoms – all possible signs of coronavirus.