Nicaraguans are racing for shelter as Hurricane Beta approaches. It is now a category 3 storm and is whipping up winds of more than 160 kilometres per hour.
Officials are struggling to find solid buildings to accommodate evacuees. Poor transport links along Nicaragua’s jungle coast are adding to the problems.
Many families have refused to leave their flimsy wooden shacks in the mostly self-governing coastal regions, where people tend to be wary of outsiders.
Authorities say they are reasonably well prepared with food and basic medicines.
After slamming into Nicaragua, the storm is expected to move into Honduras, where a state of emergency has been declared.
There are fears of a repeat of the mudslides triggered by Hurricane Stan which killed hundreds in Central America this month.
Earlier Beta lashed the small Colombian island of Providencia and neighbouring San Andres, which lie east of Nicaragua.
No deaths were recorded.
The Hurricane is the 23rd named storm of this Atlantic season – the busiest on record.