Hurricane Eta: Facts, FAQs and How to Help

Last updated July 13, 2020

Hurricane Eta slammed the northeast coast of Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on November 4, 2020. With record-breaking winds of up to 150 miles per hour and relentless rainfall, the storm weakened from a Category 4 but continued to sweep through the northern part of the country before hitting Honduras and Guatemala.   

Across Central America, widespread flooding and deadly landslides have claimed the lives of children and families. Without access to clean water and in desperate need of shelter and protection, an already vulnerable population has been put at even greater risk. 

Here's what you need to know about the devastating storm and how to support children and families in need of help.


How strong is Hurricane Eta?
What is the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm?
How have children and families been impacted by Hurricane Eta?
How is Save the Children responding to Hurricane Eta?
How can I help children and families impacted by emergencies?

How strong is Hurricane Eta?

Hurricane Eta tied Hurricane Laura for the strongest storm of the 2020 hurricane season. 

Once the deadly storm reached Category 4 strength, it joined the ranks of three other historic hurricanes. Only three Category 4 hurricanes, as well as one Category 5 hurricane, have developed in the Atlantic during the month of November this year. 

Hurricane Eta struck Nicaragua's shores as a Category 4 storm before slowly moving across northern Nicaragua and into eastern Honduras, where it then moved towards north-eastern Guatemala. During its passage, Eta downgraded to a tropical storm and then to a tropical depression.

What is the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm?

A hurricane is a storm occurring in the Atlantic and Caribbean that has sustained winds of 74 mph. A tropical storm has maximum sustained winds ranging from 39-73 mph.

How have children and families been impacted by Eta?

Tens of thousands of children and families in Nicaragua have been affected by the heavy rains and flooding in Nicaragua's northern, central and coastal areas. Sadly, the hurricane has left two people dead. Homes, schools and buildings have been badly damaged and have crucial crops in large areas of the country.   

“Children are extra vulnerable, said Argentina Martinez, Save the Children’s Country Director in Nicaragua, "as they can become separated from their parents and not always understand what is happening."

In Guatemala, it is believed at least 150 people have been killed by the storm.

How is Save the Children responding to Hurricane Eta?

Save the Children's emergency response teams are addressing the urgent needs of affected children and their families. 
In Nicaragua, across Jinotega, Matagalpa and León, our teams are distributing food, plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, COVID-19 prevention kits, as well as toilet kits for children, adolescents, and families.
In Guatemala, teams are also distributing essential supplies to help children and families stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have access to clean water, shelter and safety. 

How can I help children and families impacted by emergencies?

Nobody knows when the next crisis will strike, but your support helps Save the Children provide assistance in the critical first hours and days of an emergency when children need us most. When generous people like you make your 100% tax-deductible gift, children's lives are saved and their futures are brighter.

Donate to the Children's Emergency Fund today.


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