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Christian Aid responds to Hurricane Eta in Nicaragua as destruction continues

by Tola Mbakwe
Photo Credit: Christian Aid - Banner image
Photo Credit: Christian Aid

Christian Aid will deliver £40,000 worth of aid to victims of Hurricane Eta in Nicaragua. 

The hurricane has caused devastation across Central America since it made landfall in Nicaragua last week. Torrential rain has led to deadly landslides and widespread floods that have left thousands of people stranded. Initial reports indicate that millions of people across the region have been affected.  

Christian Aid and its local partner Soppexcca will deliver food and hygiene kits to 5,000 people who are in desperate need and will also refer them for psychological support if required. The charity said people are facing food insecurity, malnutrition and increased health risks, including Covid-19. Relief efforts will concentrate on remote areas in the north east of the country where accessibility was already a challenge before the hurricane.

Moises Gonzalez, Christian Aid's head of Latin America and the Caribbean, based in the capital, Managua, said: "We were braced for the storm to hit but what's causing most concern now is the flooding and food shortage. Flooding brings with it increased risk of outbreaks of vector-borne diseases such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.

"People's homes and livelihoods have been left in tatters. Long-term, the impact on incomes will be significant, as many have lost the bulk of their crops and especially as the coffee harvest is due to start this month. Safe shelters are limited, and many vulnerable communities are isolated due to landslides and roads blocked with debris. We need to reach them fast and thanks to the funding we have secured, our local partner organisation Soppexcca can start that work immediately."

After striking Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane and killing nearly 120 people from Mexico to Panama, the storm moved into the Gulf of Mexico early on Monday near where the Everglades meets the sea, with maximum sustained winds of 50mph.

Eta hit land late on Sunday as it blew over Lower Matecumbe, in the middle of the chain of small islands that form the Keys, but the heavily populated areas of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties bore the brunt of the storm.

It is the 28th named storm of a busy Atlantic hurricane season, tying the 2005 record. Hurricane season lasts until  30th November. 

The scale of the disaster is still to be established but according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), early estimates point to over 2.5 million people affected across Central America, primarily in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.

In Nicaragua, the National Disaster Prevention System (SINAPRED) has reported at least 130,000 people impacted, including 30,000 who have been placed in temporary shelters.

While a higher number of deaths have been reported in Honduras and Guatemala, Christian Aid said Nicaragua's fragile economy and context of reduced foreign aid pose considerable challenges in ensuring adequate and timely assistance to those that need it most.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Iota is brewing in the Caribbean Sea, threatening a second tropical strike for Nicaragua and Honduras.

The National Hurricane Centre in Miami said Iota could bring dangerous winds, storm surge and as much as 30in of rain to the two Central American countries, approaching their coasts as early as Monday.

The storm is more than 300 miles south-south-east of Kingston, Jamaica, with maximum sustained winds of 40mph, and moving to the west-south-west at 5mph.

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