Thursday, September 06, 2007
HELP VICTIMS OF HURRICANE FELIX IN NICARAGUA
The following is from MADRE.
Nicaraguan Communities Devastated by Hurricane Felix
On September 3, Hurricane Felix slammed into the North Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua with 160 mile-an-hour winds. Right now, injured and traumatized people have no access to medical care. Emergency generators and communications are down. The Category Five storm ripped roofs off houses and collapsed whole buildings, uprooted trees, and destroyed bridges and other basic infrastructure in this rural area. Indigenous women and their families whom MADRE has worked with for years in Puerto Cabezas, Waspam, and Kisalaya, have been devastated by this storm.
Rose Cunningham is a local resident of Waspam, Nicaragua and the director of MADRE's sister organization, Wangki Tangni, which serves the area hardest hit by the hurricane. Knowing that the hundreds of communities along the Coco River had no early warning system for the hurricane, Rose Cunningham boarded a canoe on Monday, September 3, and traveled up River warning families to leave their wooden houses on the banks of the river and move to higher ground.
Many of the communities that Rose visited have been totally destroyed. Hundreds of families have lost their homes and all of their possessions. Now they face flooding, mudslides - and in Puerto Cabezas, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, tidal waves - that often accompany storms of this magnitude.
MADRE is responding to the crisis through our Emergency and Disaster Relief Fund. We have been in contact with Rose Cunningham by satellite phone and she tells us that families are in urgent need of relief items.
We know that flood conditions in 100 degree heat and tropical humidity mean that outbreaks of malaria and cholera will soon set in. Water-borne diseases and simple, but life-threatening diarrhea pose another danger. Much of the communities' traditional food sources-including, beans, rice, cassava, and plantains-have been destroyed. In fact, this was the week to harvest rice and beans, which means that communities have no food reserves to draw from.
MADRE has launched a campaign to raise $100,000 of emergency aid for the communities of our sister organizations in Nicaragua. Please help us to provide:
Water purification tablets
Zinc sheeting to repair roofs
Clothes for babies and children and bedding for families
We know that the devastation faced by the women of our sister organizations in Nicaragua today is not an isolated tragedy. In fact, storms of this force are becoming more frequent as sea temperatures rise due to atmospheric warming. Coming on the heels of Hurricane Dean last month, Hurricane Felix's landfall marks the first time in more than 120 years that two Category Five storms have hit land in the same season. Only 31 Category Five storms have ever been recorded in the Atlantic - eight of them in the last five seasons.
MADRE's Emergency and Disaster Relief Fund works to respond to the immediate needs of women and families threatened by events like Hurricane Felix. The Fund also enables local womens organizations serving those most directly threatened by the crisis to affectively rebuild their communities on a stronger foundation.
To help click HERE.