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Nicaragua: Hurricane Felix Survivors Still Need Aid

More than a month after the storm, World Vision continues to meet needs of survivors, fueled by generous contributions of donors.

October 8, 2007


Please note: If a sponsored child is directly affected by a crisis or disaster, it is World Vision's policy to notify that child's sponsor as soon as possible.


An indigenous Miskita woman carries a girl on her back in a flooded area in the remote indigenous community of WuaWua Bun that was devastated by Hurricane Felix on Sept. 9. REUTERS/Juan Pablo Aragon (Nicaragua)
Hurricane Felix made landfall on Sept. 4 in northeastern Nicaragua as a Category 5 storm before weakening to a tropical depression in its travels across Central America. World Vision has sponsorship program areas in northern Nicaragua.

According to the Nicaraguan government's latest damage assessments, nearly 200,000 people there were affected, 11,225 houses were destroyed, and another 9,220 lost their roofs to the heavy winds before the storm fizzled.

Nearly 33,700 families living in the economically depressed Region Autonoma Atlantica Norte (RAAN) on Nicaragua's eastern coast suffered some of the storm's worst effects. Besides houses that were demolished, water systems were knocked out, as were 80 percent of electrical and telephone lines.

World Vision's office in Nicaragua declared a Category I emergency within hours of the hurricane's landfall, focusing its efforts on meeting the needs of storm-battered RAAN residents.

Challenges


During the first weeks of emergency aid operations, damages to roads, bridges, and airports hindered efforts to reach isolated storm survivors — 27 indigenous communities with a total population of 30,000. Aid workers used chainsaws to clear fallen trees and debris in dense jungle areas to reach these locations.

World Vision's team persisted, coordinating with the national air force to send a $50,000 air shipment of clothing, shoes, plastic sheeting, medicines, and medical supplies to assist survivors in Puerto Cabezas, one of the most affected areas. We also negotiated with the government to send a second relief shipment of medicines and other basic necessities into the disaster zone.

"The main focus World Vision has [in Nicaragua] is to provide assistance in the rehabilitation of homes, currently one of the most urgent needs," says Nicole Peter, World Vision's regional program officer for humanitarian emergency aid.

Generous Donations

Earlier this month, World Vision's Nicaragua staff sent an additional 64 tons of aid to RAAN. "Everything has been coordinated to assure that the aid will be delivered directly to ten communities in Sandy Bay," says Bayardo Figueroa, a World Vision emergency worker.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $200,000 to fund the relief items, which will be distributed by a team of experts trained to implement effective emergency operations. Because of this generous gift, 1,600 families will receive a week's worth of emergency supplies, including kitchen utensils, blankets, and personal hygiene kits.

Additionally, a $100,000 donation from World Vision donors in Taiwan will be used to help 200 families repair their roofs.


Learn More


>> Read about Hurricane Felix's landfall and World Vision's initial response.

Three Ways You Can Help

>> Pray for those affected by Hurricane Felix and for aid groups, including World Vision, who are still responding to the ongoing needs of survivors.
>> Donate now to World Vision's Disaster Response Fund. This one-time donation enables World Vision to continue to deliver desperately needed aid to families and children affected by sudden-onset disasters.
>> Sponsor a child in Nicaragua. World Vision sponsorship provides additional assistance to children during times of crisis; the program also helps children and their communities rebuild their lives after disasters like Hurricane Felix.

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