Central American nations are on high alert as Tropical Storm Pilar approaches from the Pacific Ocean, causing heavy rains and posing significant threats to coastal areas in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. The storm has claimed two lives and left one person missing in El Salvador, where intense rainfall began in the eastern department of La Unión. Pilar, with sustained winds of 85 km/h, is located 330 km southwest of San Salvador, moving at a speed of 5 to 10 km/h. According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm is expected to produce flash floods, urban flooding, and landslides in higher terrain areas near the Pacific coast of Central America, affecting regions from El Salvador to Costa Rica until Wednesday.
This storm arrives in Central America on the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Mitch, which caused around 9,000 deaths and extensive economic losses in the region. El Salvador, at the request of President Nayib Bukele, declared a “state of emergency” to mitigate the impact of the storm. The country has activated 120 shelters nationwide due to the high vulnerability of its 20,742 km² territory, where 87% is prone to landslides, mudslides, and flooding, according to UN agencies.
Costa Rica raised its alert level to orange, indicating a significant threat for the entire Pacific coast. Nicaragua and Guatemala are also preparing for the storm, with authorities urging fishermen to take preventive measures. In Honduras, President Xiomara Castro has instructed public services to be ready for possible emergencies, particularly in the southern departments of Valle and Choluteca. Central America, with its 523,000 km² and 50 million inhabitants, remains highly susceptible to meteorological phenomena, necessitating continuous monitoring and preparedness efforts.