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Nicaragua: Hurricane Felix Aid Spells 'Relief'

Remote Caribbean coastal communities finally receive much-needed aid, made possible by a generous Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

November 2, 2007




An elderly woman in Sandy Bay receives a pair of shoes, some of the 64 tons of welcome relief supplies distributed by World Vision and local churches to hard-hit Hurricane Felix survivors in eastern Nicaragua.
© 2007 Miriam Diaz/World Vision
Uprooted trees, splintered wood shards, twisted tin roofing, and 1,500 desperate people.

This was what awaited World Vision aid workers who brought relief supplies last month to Hurricane Felix survivors in Sandy Bay, a cluster of remote, indigenous communities perched on the edge of Nicaragua's north Caribbean coast.

'Thank You Very Much!'

"We thank God we are still alive!" Víctor Maybeth exclaimed to rescue workers when they arrived. He proceeded to explain how Hurricane Felix shredded the family's tin-roofed hut, forcing him and his 11 children to sleep out in the open for several days. Heavy winds and rains made their lives nearly unbearable.

Victor and his family were among the 1,505 families in Sandy Bay's 10 communities who bore the full brunt of the hurricane's Category 5 fury in early September. Each of the families received 56 pounds of food, eliciting a phrase World Vision staff heard often during the distribution: "Thinki pale, thinki pale!" — "Thank you very much!"

Families also received kitchen utensils, a hygiene kit, mosquito nets, and blankets. Some families received clothing and shoes as well. An additional 95 families from surrounding communities also were assisted.

Deep Loss

Maria de Jesus Barquero is among the many women in Sandy Bay who tragically lost her husband to the furious storm. She now faces the harsh reality of caring for her five grandchildren alone — all of them younger than 5.

"The hurricane left us without a roof," she says mournfully. "When it rains, we all get wet, and I really do not know what to do because they are just little kids."

World Vision donors in Taiwan have generously donated $100,000 to help repair 200 hurricane-damaged roofs in Nicaragua.

Delays


Nicaragua's eastern coast suffered some of the storm's worst effects. Houses were demolished, water systems were knocked out, and 80 percent of electrical and telephone lines in the region were downed.

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 population of more than 30,000 in eastern Nicaragua. Aid workers used chainsaws to clear fallen trees and debris in dense jungle areas to reach these locations.

Some 64 Tons of Relief


In coordination with local churches, World Vision in Nicaragua was finally able to deliver 64 tons of desperately needed aid to the devastated outpost in mid-October. A generous $200,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helped to fund the relief items.

"With the aid provided by World Vision and the support of their church brothers, it has been possible to organize the distribution by making it equitable and that each family receives what they need so badly," said the Rev. Lidaukara, a local pastor in Sandy Bay.

Learn More


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

Two Ways You Can Help

>> Pray for those in remote communities affected by Hurricane Felix and for aid groups, including World Vision, who are still working to meet 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.

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