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Thursday, December 3, 1998 Published at 12:26 GMT

Mitch: A path of destruction

BBC News Online records the hurricane's path of devastation:

As Hurricane Mitch tore across Central America, the most deadly Atlantic storm in two centuries left a trail of destruction in its wake.

About 10,000 are believed to have been killed, with Nicaragua and Honduras bearing the brunt of the storm. Development in some of the western hemisphere's poorest countries has been set back by as much as 50 years.

[ image: A flooded home in Managua, Nicaragua]
A flooded home in Managua, Nicaragua

Officials have said their initial death toll estimate of 3,800 dead was too high and brought the final count down to 3,045.

Hundreds of people are still missing. Mudslides claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. And as Mitch continued to wreak havoc, the Casita volcano erupted and a minor earthquake hit the city of Chinandega.

Nicaragua estimated its economic damage at $1bn.

Whole village disappears in volcano mudslide

[ image: A house slides into Cangrejal River in Honduras]
A house slides into Cangrejal River in Honduras

The early death toll estimate of 7,000 deaths has been revised down to 5,657.

More than 8,000 people are still unaccounted for.

Incessant rain flooded at least 50 rivers, knocking out bridges and roads and inundating many towns.

President Carlos Flores declared a state of emergency over the entire territory on 30 October and later announced that at least 70% of the country's crops had been destroyed.

The government estimates that it will need $2bn to meet total reconstruction costs.

El Salvador:

The west of the country was the worst hit with many communities cut off and under water.

Figures on 11 November said 239 people were dead, with 500,000 forced to flee their homes.

Floodwaters rise to the third floor of some buildings

[ image: Firefighters evacuate people at risk in Guatemala]
Firefighters evacuate people at risk in Guatemala

The storm is said to have killed 256 people, including 11 Americans in a plane crash. At least 77,000 people have been evacuated, and 28 bridges and 31 highways have been destroyed.


Most of Belize City's population was evacuated on 28 October as rains intensified. Security forces were deployed to prevent looting. Eleven people have been reported dead or missing. There was widespread crop damage and roads have been destroyed.

The storm also killed people in Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica

Mitch upgraded to a hurricane

[ image: Holiday-makers leave Cancun]
Holiday-makers leave Cancun

High winds and rain battered the country's beaches, with Cancun the hardest hit. Holidaymakers left in droves. At least six people died, and several thousand were evacuated.

Florida, USA:

Despite abating in the days before, Mitch regained strength over the Gulf of Mexico on 3 November, hitting southern Florida and gradually heading towards the western coast on 5 November.

Tornadoes and winds of up to 55mph (88kph) knocked down trees and power lines in the Florida Keys region.

Much of southern Florida was put under a tropical storm warning and shelters were opened in the Key West and Key Largo.

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Mitch: A path of destruction

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