Monday, November 9, 2020

Hurricane Eta Update: How are those we work with faring?


Evacuations Thursday, Prinzapolka River, Nicaraguan Caribbean coast

Although Hurricane Eta has left Central America, it’s still raining and continuing rain is forecasted for the next 10 days. How are we faring?

CDCA - Ciudad Sandino: All our staff and their families are fine. Nueva Vida Clinic operations have continued as usual. We did not get much wind in Ciudad Sandino and since the rains are steady but not torrential, there have not been many homes affected here (except everyone now knows exactly where their roof is leaking!)

Agriculture co-op: Organic farming families with COPROEXNIC are fine; so far their sesame in the fields is fine. This morning Rogelio went out to check on the co-op's 140 acres of sesame near our Center and reports that it still looks good. The amount of continuing rain will matter a lot.  All the peanut farmers are worried about their crop because too much rain can be very bad for peanuts. Many of the farmers' food crops of beans and corn are at risk.

Destruction of houses, Commuity of Wawa, RCCN, Caribbean coast

Coffee families: René called from the El Porvenir coffee co-op this morning to report that everyone is fine, but their community is now entirely cut off, as two of the ramps on their only access road washed out completely. They have been watching their bean crops closely and are hoping to get a chance to harvest some this week, but they have already lost nearly half of their beans, which is their community’s main food for the year. Part of the 20 acres of sesame they had planted has been lost. The coffee harvest was supposed to begin this week, but of course with the rain it can’t start. All the rains accelerate maturity in the coffee beans, so the beans are ripening, swelling, splitting and falling off the plants. If this continues, it could be very bad for this year’s crop.

Central America: On a broader scale, Central America has been hard hit, with 3 million people affected in the region. On Nicaragua's east coast, two miners died in a mudslide; other countries have had more casualties: In Guatemala there are 150 dead and more than 100 still missing, in Honduras more than 20 dead, in Panama six dead, in Costa Rica three dead, and in El Salvador two dead.

Nicaragua: In Nicaragua the hardest hit areas were in the North Caribbean Autonomous Region and Jinotega, which got heavy winds and rains, and Rivas, which also got a lot of flooding from rivers and streams. Countrywide, more than 47,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters where they've been receiving food, supplies and health care. As of Friday there were 1,200 homes reported to be destroyed or partially damaged around the country, with that count continuing as authorities get access to affected areas. Over the weekend government emergency services sent a convoy with roofing kits for 2,000 homes to Bilwi, the hardest hit town on the east coast, to begin reconstruction. Although most roads are now open, five highways were affected and nine bridges.

Feeding evacuees at emergency shelter, Alamikamba, Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region

Water & disease: As some people begin to return to their homes where flooding has abated, potable water is an issue. Access to clean water has been restored in Bilwi, cleaning of wells and restoration of clean water distribution is in process in other places. Electricity was out in much of the north of the country, but is beginning to be restored. Flooding can also spread disease; the Ministry of Health has administered 50,500 doses of prophylactic medication against the spread of leptospirosis.

Food: There is much concern around the country for the loss of food crops which could create scarcity and drive up prices. Already the price of potatoes has gone up; other crops will be sure to follow as rains continue this week. 

Please keep Nicaragua, El Porvenir, the farmers around the country, and our work in your thoughts. 


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