Hurricane Felix, a category 5 hurricane, hit the North Atlantic coast of Nicaragua on September 4th, between â€“ Puerto Cabezas (aka Bilwi) and Cabo Gracias a Dios. Although recent official figures state that 102 people died, local leadership estimates the dead to be between 300 and 500. More than 198,000 mostly Miskito indigenous people were affected directly by the hurricane. There were more than 10,000 houses completely destroyed and another 10,000 partially destroyed. There were 337 communities that were affected by the hurricane, losing homes and crops. It is estimated that 1,300,000 hectares of the BosawÃ¡s forest reserve were destroyed.
We got our first two truckloads of food and supplies into the communities!
Travel to Puerto Cabezas from Managua has become possible by land since several rivers now allow trucks and four wheel drive vehicles to cross. CEPAD and AMOS were able to send two rented trucks from Managua to the four communities of Hiltara, Butku, Sangni Laya and Panua, loaded with food and supplies. The trip took 30 hours! One truck broke down completely three quarters of the way there due to the road conditions and old age and had to be hauled back to Managua after the load transferred to another truck. The road was treacherous but the needs of the people in those communities kept us going. We delivered 16 tons of rice, beans, cereals, sugar, flour, cooking oil, cooking utensils and sheet plastic to use as temporary roofing. We were able to benefit about 2,000 people by delivering the supplies in family packages, one family at a time.
People in the communities of Iltara, Butku, Sangilaya, and Panua receiving food and supplies
We have also received a donation from Church World Service consisting of 20 boxes of essential medications and 19,995 personal hygiene kits, which AMOS and CEPAD are helping to distribute to affected communities.
Current Needs in the Communities
* Seeds and tools. Food security is a major concern given that most crops were lost and many communities are without adequate food. Although donated food supplies are still needed, more importantly are donated tools and seeds to plant and allow communities to become self-sustainable again.
* Clean water and sanitation. Wells are still not safe and require cleaning, repairs and the use of chlorine to make water useable.
* Access to healthcare. The government has mobilized some physicians to the area to help cover government health posts, but medications are short and travel not easy for patients who live in the surrounding communities.
* Health education. Many people lack knowledge of what to do to ensure their health under these conditions. Health education at the community level is important for issues related to clean water, sanitation, outbreak prevention.
* Attention to emotional and spiritual needs. People have become more desperate in the last couple of weeks from the sinking realization that they have lost it all, causing some to unexpectedly cry or laugh. Individuals, families and communities need accompaniment and to be able to begin to grieve and process the big changes and losses in their lives. Many victims believe that the hurricane was a punishment from God, and reject talking about Godâ€™s love.
You can help AMOS by praying for:
* Seed packet and tools for one family ($200).
* Tin roof for one family ($150).
* Transporting relief supplies from Puerto Cabezas to surrounding communities ($50 per trip)
* Essential medication box to help rural communities ($300 per box).
We are very grateful for all your prayers and to everyone who has helped us so far with the hurricane relief efforts.
We continue to ask your prayers for the people of Nicaragua; for those who have lost loved ones and their homes.
Dr. David Parajon, IM Volunteers Carol and Dave Matheson, Jessica Chapman and AMOS Staff packing health kits from Church World Service to send out to the affected areas for hurricane relief
David and Laura