Q24N – The passage of hurricane Iota, a category 5, caused serious damage to 98% of the infrastructure of the Colombian island of Providencia, said Monday night President Iván Duque when informing that he had already managed to speak by phone with the mayor of that territory, Jorge Norberto Gari Hooker.
“There is a maximum impact on infrastructure; we are talking about a deterioration of about 98% of the infrastructure of the island of Providencia. The mayor reports that so far there has only been one loss of human life,” Duque said in a statement.
The 17-square-kilometer island has about 5,000 inhabitants and is part of the San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina archipelago, located about 700 kilometers from the continental coast of Colombia, lying midway between Costa Rica and Jamaica.
The eye of the hurricane hit Providencia fully Monday morning, which was cut off for more than 14 hours during which the whole of Colombia was in suspense due to the fate of the inhabitants of that part of the archipelago.
Destruction in San Andrés
The hurricane also caused great material damage on the island of San Andrés, one of the jewels of tourism in the Colombian Caribbean, but the destruction was less than that suffered by Providencia, a paradisiacal island with turquoise blue waters located about 90 kilometers to the northeast.
In addition to the Navy ships that are based in San Andrés, the archipelago has communication by air through the Gustavo Rojas Pinilla airports, in San Andrés, and El Embrujo, in Providencia, the latter with a runway of only 300 meters in length used by the state airline Satena for flights between the two islands, lasting about 18 minutes.
The president assured that Iota has caused “a great impact” on San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, islands that are not usually in the path of hurricanes.
“We are aware that for the first time in the history of our country we have a category 5 hurricane hit our territory,” said Duque, who made “a great call to the private sector and Colombian society” to help their compatriots in the archipelago in this emergency.
Floods in Cartagena de Indias
The storm surge resulting from the passage of Hurricane Iota flooded neighborhoods near the beaches of Cartagena de Indias (mainland Colombia), on Monday, a city that since last Saturday has suffered the rigors of the meteorological phenomenon.
The General Maritime Directorate (Dimar) reported that the usual level of the sea in front of the city has risen about 60 centimeters, which means that almost all the streets of the tourist neighborhoods of Bocagrande, Castillogrande and El Laguito remain flooded and traffic is collapsed.
Rising water levels have also flooded numerous homes in the populated sectors of La Boquilla and Marlinda in the north of the city.
Two days ago the Mayor of Cartagena decreed an emergency for the damage caused by Iota, which was a tropical storm on Saturday when it passed through the city and quickly became a category five hurricane as it advanced through the Caribbean Sea towards Central America.