The leftovers of Hurricane Eta discharged relentless rains and disastrous flooding on Central America, causing at least 21 casualties and turning streets into rivers as dozens in Guatemala were scared to have been buried in their homes by mudslides.
Families trudged through flooded streets of the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, while cars sat almost inundated in parts of the central Guatemalan city of San Pedro Carcha, television video clips and images posted on social media showed.
The situation is serious, it is frightful and needs to be dealt efficiently, fast, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said, pointing to reports of people in the lurch or stuck on roofs of flooded homes.
Vandalization and demolition had extended across the vast majority of Honduras and speedboats and helicopters would be sent to save people in isolated areas, Hernandez said.
One of the viciousest storms to hit Central America in years, Eta struck Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday with winds of 150 miles per hour (241 kph) before reducing to a tropical depression as it moved inland and into neighboring Honduras.
By Thursday, authorities confirmed at least five deaths in Guatemala and seven in Honduras. Media in Nicaragua also reported two miners had died in a mudslide.
In the Guatemalan town of San Cristobal Verapaz, located about 120 miles (193 km) north of Guatemala City, 15 homes have likely been covered by mudslides, feasibly affecting some 75 people, disaster relief agency Conred said in a statement on Thursday.
President Alejandro Giammattei declared a state of emergency in almost half of the country's 22 departments earlier in the day. In both Guatemala and Panama, some people have been reported missing, while in Honduras hundreds of people are trapped on roofs awaiting rescue as water levels continue to increase.
In southern Costa Rica, a landslide killed two people in a house, a Costa Rican woman and an American man, officials said. Concurrently, five people, including three children, died in flooding in Panama's Chiriqui province, near the Costa Rica border, authorities said.