Images From Drought-Hit Nicaragua
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Published on 18 August 2014

A severe drought is affecting much of Central America. At the request of the Government of Nicaragua, WFP is providing urgent food relief to rural families affected by what is thought to be the worst drought in three decades. The resources of this operation were part of contributions made by Canada, Brazil and Australia.

Quick Response in Times of Crisis

The rural population of Nicaragua is suffering from the effects of a prolonged drought that is causing food insecurity nationwide, and food is needed urgently. WFP in collaboration with the Nicaraguan Government are quick to respond, preparing food rations that contain kidney beans, rice, maize, fortified cereal with micronutrients, vegetable oil and salt to bring relief to 46.000 affected families. Photo: WFP/Sabrina Quezada

Food Rations for 66 Municipalities

At the request of the Government of Nicaragua to provide urgent food relief to rural families affected by the lack of rainfall, WFP allocated more than 1.400 metric tons of food and covered the transportation costs to the capital cities of the nine departments that will be receiving assistance. Then the food will be sent to the vulnerable families living in 66 rural municipalities hit by the drought. Photo: WFP/Sabrina Quezada

The Worst Drought in Over Three Decades

The effects of climate change are hitting Nicaragua hard. The current severe drought is causing not only harvest losses but the reduction of drinkable water sources. The weather phenomenon of “El Niño” is causing this crisis, which is affecting subsistence farmers and farm laborers. According to government information, the current drought affecting Nicaragua is the harshest one recorded over the last 32 years. During this rainy season the country has experienced a 50% reduction in average rainfall and 6-7 degree Celsius temperature rise. Photo: Courtesy/Oswaldo Rivas

The Impact on Children

The drought is having a strong economic, social, and environmental impact within the affected countries. The most vulnerable are children, women, and the elderly who witness a reduction of home food reserves. Heads of households migrate to neighboring countries in search of jobs, forcing them to leave their children in the care of grandparents and other family members. Photo: WFP/Sabrina Quezada

No Harvest, No Food on the Table

Without sufficient rain, the crops from the season’s first harvest quickly deteriorated.  Smallholder farmers are helpless as their staple grains of maize, beans, and rice perished, overwhelmed by the hot sun and lack of rain. Yet they remain hopeful for the upcoming planting season (August-January). However specialist estimate that the drought will persist for another two months. Photo: Courtesy/Oswaldo Rivas

Loss of Livestock

Producers of milk and beef have reported an approximate loss of 2,500 cattle due to starvation. Once lush grazing pastures, have dried up. It is estimated that some 600,000 cattle are at risk across the country, should this drought continue. Photo: Courtesy/Oswaldo Rivas

Severity of Climate Change

"Climate change is affecting the local weather and its impact demands immediate attention to prevent deterioration of the health and nutrition of people, especially women, children and the elderly,” said WFP Representative, Helmut Rauch. “Drought has a severe impact on the households’ economy. When the lack of rains affect crops, families fail to receive their income and have food reserves for the rest of the year”, said WFP Representative, Helmut Rauch. Photo: WFP/Sabrina Quezada