Eta brings devastation to Central America

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Eta brings devastation to Central America

Rain-heavy remnants of Hurricane Eta have flooded homes from Panama to Guatemala, as the death toll across Central America rose to at least 57 people and aid groups warned flooding and mudslides were creating a slow-moving humanitarian disaster.

The storm that hit Nicaragua as a mighty Category-4 hurricane on Tuesday had become more of a vast tropical rainstorm on Thursday, but it was advancing so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America remained on high alert.

Banana-growing regions in Honduras, such as the Sula Valley, appear to have been heavily affected. 

Central America supplies a wide range of fruits and vegetables to the U.S. and European markets, including bananas, pineapples, melons and exotic fruit.

Forecasters said the now-tropical depression was expected to regather strength and head towards Cuba and possibly the Gulf of Mexico by early next week.

In an update to customers, shipping company Sealand said the tropical depression is slowly moving and is expected to re-strengthen on path to South Florida.

South Florida ports are reportedly on alert, as container ships may be restricted from leaving or entering as the storm closes in, website Freight Waves reports.

In a press release Wednesday evening, the Coast Guard has set port condition Whiskey for the Port of Key West, which consists of three docking facilities.

This was done due to the expectation of sustained gale force winds of 25 mph and gusts up to 40 mph that may arrive within 72 hours. These facilities are currently open to all commercial traffic, and all transfer operations may continue while Whiskey remains in effect.

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