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Hurricanes Eta, Iota hit Nicaragua with $743 million in economic losses

FILE PHOTO: A man sits on the shore of the Masachapa river under the rain caused by Storm Eta in Masachapa, Nicaragua November 4, 2020.REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

MANAGUA (Reuters) – Nicaragua suffered nearly $750 million in damage from Hurricanes Eta and Iota, the government said on Tuesday, as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) promised $1.7 billion in aid for millions of people affected across Central America.

Nearly 44,000 homes suffered total or partial damage in Nicaragua, said Nicaraguan Finance Minister Ivan Acosta, estimating the storms have cost the country $743 million in losses, according to government media site El 19.

Hurricane Eta alone impacted some 3 million people in seven Central American countries and caused up to $5.5 billion in damage, the IDB said, citing estimates from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Iota’s economic toll has yet to be calculated, said the IDB.

The region was still recovering from deadly flooding and mudslides triggered by Eta when Iota walloped Central America.

The IDB said on Monday it will support reconstruction in the hardest-hit countries with up to $1.2 billion in new funds, plus up to $500 million reassigned from existing operations and money mobilized from other institutions working in the region.

“The IDB is totally committed to helping with the recovery and reconstruction of affected countries in Central America,” said IDB president Mauricio Claver-Carone.

The Honduran central bank said on Monday that devastation caused by Eta will shave an additional percentage point from economic growth, which along with the fallout from coronavirus will lead to a record contraction of 8-9% in 2020.

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