The World Food Programme (WFP) and Nicaraguan authorities dispatched 23 Metric Tons of food to communities in the Autonomous Region of the South Atlantic (RAAS) to assist hundreds of people affected severe floods following weeks of heavy rains in the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast.
WFP and the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Relief (SINAPRED) of Nicaragua are bringing relief to 560 families (some 2,800 people) in the towns of Bluefields, El Tortuguero, La Cruz del Rio Grande y La Desembocadura del Rio Grande in the Autonomous Region of the South Atlantic (RAAS). Some of the food was brought by land to El Rama port and shipped to Bluefields through the Escondido River.
The cargo consists of rice, maize, beans, salt, and fortified cereal for distribution among families living in shelters and receiving government’s assistance. WFP also provides logistics supports to the Nicaraguan Government by transporting non-food items for 210 families living in hard to reach communities, such as El Tortuguero, La Cruz del Rio Grande, and La Desembocadura del Rio Grande. These non-food items are clothes, sleeping mats, rubber boots, hammocks, nails, and zinc roofs.
“Organizing this response is a real challenge. The food will be transferred from trucks to boats that will navigate through the Escondido River, which has risen due to the rains. The vessels will also sail through the Caribbean Sea and later return inland through the Rio Grande de Matagalpa, which has the largest waterflow of the country. This is the only way to reach the communities of Desembocadura del Rio Grande and La Cruz del Rio Grande”, says Nelson Castellon of the WFP Logistic team.
The food supply is given to the families affected by the rain and floods thanks to the contributions that WFP received from Brazil, Australia, Germany, Spain, and Canada. “The rains are affecting populations that are highly vulnerable; these are indigenous and afro-descendent towns that are suffering damages or losses of their houses and livelihood, which are crops of corn, yucca, musaceae, rice and fruit trees”, expressed the Representative of the WFP in Nicaragua, Helmut W. Rauch.
According to SINAPRED, 47 municipalities have been affected by the rains since the last week of May (the start of the rainy season.) Floods have killed 15 people and damaged houses, crops, latrines, and wells in the RAAS and the Autonomous Region of the North Atlantic (RAAN), where Nicaragua’s longest and most abundant rivers are located. Nicaraguan authorities decreed Red and Yellow Alert in many of these municipalities.