Central America on alert as Hurricane Julia approaches | Hurricanes: the devastation

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Central America on alert as Hurricane Julia approaches | Hurricanes: The devastation

Residents leave their homes in the pouring rain in the old banana fields of the municipality of El Progreso, Yoro Department, Honduras, before the arrival of Hurricane Julia.

Tropical Storm Julia has become a hurricane and is expected to make landfall in Nicaragua at dawn on Sunday, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) and local authorities.

Julia became a hurricane with sustained winds of 120 km/h as it passed near the islands of San Andres and Providencia, which together with Santa Catalina complete a Colombian archipelago of 120 km/h. approximately 48,000 inhabitants in the Caribbean Sea, the US agency said in a statement.

Nicaragua's Vice President Rosario Murillo announced that Julia is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane Sunday at dawn between Orinoco and Laguna de Perlas, north of the town of Bluefields on the southeast coast of the country.

At 8 p.m., the hurricane was 200 km east of Bluefields and moving at a speed of 28 km /h, the NHC said.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has declared high alert in San Andres.

A man transports chickens on a motorbike leaving the old banana fields of the municipality of El Progreso in Honduras, before the arrival of the storm.

Weekend rainfall could cause flash flooding and potentially deadly mudslides in Central America, the NHC also warned.

In Bluefields, one of the main towns on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast, fishermen pulled their boats to safety and locals rushed to stock up and withdraw cash.

We have to prepare ourselves with food, a bit of everything, because we don't know what will happen, confided to AFP Javier Duarte, a cabinetmaker who prayed for the storm to deflect his trajectory and spares its city and its 60,000 inhabitants.

Nicaragua's National System for Disaster Prevention (Sinapred) put the entire country on yellow alert on Saturday and activated rescue units.

The government evacuated some 6,000 people in the Laguna de Perlas area and other endangered localities.

In Guatemala, 22 departments have been placed on red alert by civil protection services as the storm approaches, which could also affect Honduras and El Salvador.

In Honduras, the government announced preventive load shedding of the main hydroelectric dam, El Cajon. Especially since the country experienced floods and evacuations at the end of September in the vicinity of San Pedro Sula, the second largest city and industrial heart of the country, and the area now most threatened by Julia.

In El Salvador, authorities have declared an orange alert for the whole country, activating rescue units and preventive evacuations in high-risk areas.

In Panama , the Civil Protection has established a yellow alert, including in the province of Darien, an area of ​​jungle that borders Colombia and that hundreds of migrants cross daily to reach the United States.

At the end of 2020, hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Central America, leaving at least 200 dead and as many missing, and damage estimated at several million dollars.

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