The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, announced the activation of the country’s emergency operations centers as part of the actions that are being taken before the passage of tropical storm Iota through the Caribbean and which is expected to have effects in Panama.
Given the projections of bad weather for the next few days, President Cortizo called on people and communities living near rivers to seek refuge in other places and move away from areas at risk.
“If the rain is prolonged, even if it is not strong, it is preferable to seek shelter,” said the president.
The president announced that this Sunday afternoon a Cabinet Council will be held to expand “the state of emergency.”
According to the Etesa Hydrometerology forecasts, it is estimated that the storm Iota will become a Hurricane for Monday and an influence is already seen in the country with increased winds and rainfall.
Pilar López, from Etesa, explained that from now on the effects of the natural phenomenon can be felt with winds and rains. Among the regions where climate instability is expected to occur are the Azuero peninsula, Chiriquí, southern Veraguas, the Ngäbe Buglé region, Darién, eastern Panama and the Bayano sector.
With the passage of this storm through Caribbean waters, it is expected that the rains in different parts of the country will occur between this Saturday, November 14 and Tuesday, November 17.
López added that although the forecast is that Iota will arrive in Nicaragua by Tuesday, we must also be aware that the rains can continue to fall in Panama, even days later.
THE SAME TRAJECTORY THAT IS
According to Iota forecasts, it will have the same route as Eta, which caused serious damage from Guatemala to Panama.
Eta caused floods and mudslides that affected 2.5 million people and left more than 200 dead, according to Central American civil protection organizations.
In Panama, Eta to date has left 19 dead, about 3,000 people affected, 12 people not located and millionaire damage between roads and agricultural production.
The province of Chiriquí was the most affected by the heavy rains that occurred between the last days of October and the first week of November.
López stressed that the population must be alert to the warnings that will be issued and that the conditions of the land in Chiriquí generates an alert with a new storm like Iota.
Meanwhile, Luz Calzadilla, from Etesa, explained that storm Iota also comes with bad intensity due to its trajectory and weather conditions. He added that Panama had the indirect effects of Hurricane Eta, but far from being the direct effect: “The indirect effects caused us damage.”
Regarding the emergency operations centers, President Cortizo said that he met virtually with all the governors of the country to monitor the effects of Eta and the Iota storm and, incidentally, activate the operations centers of all the provinces.
These operations centers are made up of the governors, the chiefs of the police zones, firefighters, Sinaproc, technical boards, mayors and representatives of the townships.
“Tomorrow the operations center of the province of Panama will be installed at 9:00 am and at 2:30 pm we will have a Cabinet Council to expand the state of emergency,” said Cortizo.
For his part, the Minister of Security, Juan Pino, stressed that given the phenomenon they have to face they are in the preparation phase and also called on the population to follow the instructions of the official sources of information.
“The instructions have already been given, everything that the provinces have are being raised, which can help at any given time to an affectation. We are not preparing for any type of event that we are affected, “said Pino.
For her part, the Minister of Government Janaina Tewaney, reported that possible shelters are being prepared in order to provide attention in the event of events that the Iota storm may generate.