Eta toll rises to at least 57 in hard-hit Honduras

·1-min read
A man wades through floodwaters from Hurricane Eta in La Lima, in the Cortes department of Honduras, in November 2020
A man wades through floodwaters from Hurricane Eta in La Lima, in the Cortes department of Honduras, in November 2020

The death toll in Honduras from Tropical Storm Eta has more than doubled in 24 hours, with authorities Monday reporting 57 people had died as rescuers search for bodies.

Honduras is one of the countries worst hit by the storm, which slammed into Central America last week as a Category 4 hurricane.

Some 200 people are dead or missing after the storm deluged the region with torrential rains.

Honduran authorities had put the toll at 23 on Sunday.

Eight people are listed as missing in the country, large parts of which are under water, according to the country's emergency authority COPECO.

A relief operation is underway in Honduras' Sula Valley economic heartland, near the country's second largest city, San Pedro Sula. Two major rivers overflowed their banks, causing widespread flooding and trapping tens of thousands of people.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez thanked US soldiers from a joint task force based in Palmerola in the center of the country, as well as neighboring El Salvador, for providing assistance to the victims.

A 21-strong rescue team from El Salvador arrived on Saturday as part of the relief operation.

Eta left a trail of destruction through Honduras and Guatemala even as it weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall in Nicaragua on Tuesday.

El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and Mexico have suffered varying degrees of damage from the storm, which swept into Florida on Monday with strong winds and heavy rain.

So far, the country with the highest death toll is Guatemala, where about 150 people are dead or missing. 

Torrential rain and a bitter cold front linked to Eta have also claimed at least 20 lives in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

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