For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.
• CAL change/waiver fee authorised for travel between GCM and Sister Islands between 5-9 Nov.
• Post offices close at 1pm today
• Ports in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac closed today
• PwC Junior Circuit Tournament has been postponed until 19-20 Dec.
• Plastic Free Cayman beach clean-up on Sunday is postponed to 22 Nov.
• Customs and Border Control’s collections office and warehouse on Owen Roberts Drive will be closed on Saturday. Office hours will resume on 10 Nov.
• The offices of the Water Authority – Cayman in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac will be closed Friday.
GUATEMALA CITY/TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – The death toll from the calamitous storm Eta in Central America soared on Friday after the Guatemalan military reached a remote mountainous village where torrential rains had triggered devastating mudslides, killing about 100 people.
Many of the dead were buried in their homes in the remote Queja village in central region of Alta Verapaz, where about 150 houses had been swallowed by mudslides, Guatemalan army spokesman Ruben Tellez told Reuters, citing preliminary figures.
It appeared the area around Queja village previously had a huge landslide on a road pass a decade ago, which left dozens of people dead, Tellez added.
“Now with all this (Eta) phenomenon it collapsed again,” Tellez said.
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei indicated the death toll could jump even higher, with the number of dead and missing in Queja village estimated to total about 150.
Eta has now emerged in the northwest Caribbean and, as of 1pm, was 375 miles west-southwest of Grand Cayman. It’s moving to the north-northeast at six miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. Eta is forecast to pass roughly 100 northwest of Grand Cayman on Saturday afternoon and about 128 miles northwest of Cayman Brac on Saturday evening.
A marine advisory is in effect for the Cayman Islands from Friday evening and a flood warning remains in effect. Cayman could experience some tropical storm force winds as the system makes its way toward Cuba.
One of the fiercest storms to hit Central America in years, Eta on Friday dumped more torrential rain across large parts of Central America and the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned “catastrophic flooding” in the region would continue.
Rescue operations across Honduras and Guatemala have been slowed by destroyed roads and bridges, forcing authorities to draft in the military and use helicopters and speedboats to rescue people stranded on top of their houses.
Eta wrought chaos after plowing into Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday with winds of 150 miles per hour before weakening to a tropical depression and unleashing torrents of rain on regions of Honduras and Guatemala.
“This is the worst storm Honduras has seen in decades. The damage will undoubtedly be significant,” said Mark Connolly, UNICEF Representative in Honduras, who estimated about 1.5 million children there will be impacted by Eta.
Giammattei earlier added that bad weather was hampering rescue efforts, which were further limited by the country having only one helicopter for the job.
“We have a lot of people trapped (whom) we have not been able to reach,” he said.
A further eight people were killed in Honduras, where Max Gonzalez, the minister of the National Risk Management System (SINAGER), said about 4,000 people had been rescued but many others remained trapped on their roofs.
“We have been without food for two days… waiting to be evacuated,” William Santos, sheltering on top of a banana packing plant with about 300 people in northern Honduras, told Reuters.
Across swathes of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica, high winds and heavy rain have damaged hundreds, if not thousands, of homes, forcing people to take cover in shelters.
Two artisanal miners were killed in Nicaragua while in southern Costa Rica, a landslide killed two people in a house, a Costa Rican woman and an American man, officials said.
Near the Costa Rican border in Panama’s Chiriqui province, five people, including three children, died in flooding, authorities said.
(Additional reporting by Sofia Menchu and Josue Decavele in Guatemala City; Anthony Esposito, Diego Ore, Ana Martinez, and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Aurora Ellis).