More major floods in Honduras close the Roatan airport as COP24 scientists say the country has suffered the most extreme weather events in the world over 20 years.
Authorities in Honduras have closed the Roatan airport due to low visibility and flooding in the country’s Caribbean region.
More than 5,000 residents in the northern departments of Colon, Atlantida, Cortes and Bahia Island, where the Roatan airport is located have been suffering from below average temperatures and heavy rains since last week. Major floods in the area forced the government to place Cortes, Atlantida, and Bahia Island under yellow alert until Monday morning and have evacuated many because of landslides, floods, and overflowing rivers.
Lisandro Rosales, director of the Permanent Risk Commission (Copeco), warned people in the area to continue to "be careful, calm and prudent."
Authorities from the Roatan airport told EFE that all terminals were closed because of "rain and low visibility" until at least Monday afternoon, and Bahia remains under green alert.
Heavy rains, floods, and landslides in Honduras last October left at least four dead and eight others across Central America. Around 7,000 people were affected and over 3,000 evacuated and placed in temporary shelters during the October floods in Honduras.
The National Center for Atmospheric, Oceanographic and Seismic Studies (Cenaos) said "a cold air front was pushing through" northern Honduras at least until Monday evening as well.
So far, the affected provinces have received from six to 18 cm of rain and Copeco warns more flooding is expected.
Germanwatch 2018 Global Climate Risk Index (IRC) reports that "between 1997 and 2016, Honduras was the country “most affected by extreme weather events" in the world. Haiti and Myanmar were also among the top ten affected. The report was presented during the United Nations (UN) Convention on Climate Change (COP24) that took place until Dec. 14 in Katowice, Poland.
According to Germanwatch, between 1997 and 2016 Honduras was hit with 62 extreme weather events, including Hurricane Mitch which forced tens of thousands to take refuge in the United States. The first of the Central American Exoduses, or migrant caravans, left from Honduras shortly after last October’s major flooding.
The Central American country of just over nine million people has also suffered exponentially from El Niño and La Niña weather patterns, as well as major droughts, the latest of which took place over the summer months and destroyed 70 percent of corn crops, directly affecting 72,000 families across the country.
The IRC analysis is based on the “impacts of extreme climatic events and the socio-economic data" for each country. "In total, more than 524,000 people died as a direct result of more than 11,000 extreme weather events … between 1997 and 2016.” The scientists estimate these events resulted in a loss of US$3.16 trillion.
The 10 most affected countries in the world, including Honduras, are considered “in development" and have a low-income index. Scientists are saying that the migration and refugee waves over the past several years are not only the result of poverty and violence, but climate change.