Nicaragua Hurricane "Felix" Flash Appeal 2007
Category 5 Hurricane Felix made landfall at 04:45 a.m. local time on Tuesday, 4 September at Sandy Bay, on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. The affected areas are in the Northern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), mainly communities of the southern and northern coastline of the town of Bilwi (municipality of Puerto Cabezas), the communities of Lower Río Coco (municipality of Waspam) and the so-called Mining Triangle (Municipalities of Siuna, Bonanza and Rosita). The departments of Jinotega and Nueva Segovia were also affected by intense rainfall and mudslides. The situation is worsened by the affected population in the RAAN having the worst health and nutrition indicators in the country, and highly vulnerable to any disruption of food production or crop destruction.
Given the difficulties of accessing to the affected area, the damage estimates are still preliminary and are evolving day to day. Initial damage and needs assessments by the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention (SINAPRED) indicated an estimated 100,000 people affected. (Most of this appeal is based on that estimate.) SINAPRED’s update as of September 12 increases the estimate of disaster victims to 162,373, with 67 confirmed fatalities and 110 persons missing. As to the infrastructure, a total of 9,948 houses were affected in the municipalities of the RAAN, of which 7,945 were completely destroyed. Communications and power lines in the regional capital Bilwi collapsed. Many bridges have collapsed, including the bridge over River Wawa, which has isolated the RAAN from the rest of the country by road.
On September 4, the President of the Republic issued Decree No. 87-2007 declaring a State of Emergency in the RAAN. The decree ordered Ministries and specialised institutions belonging to SINAPRED to immediately take necessary actions according to the Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (RRP), with funds from the national budget and the international community, and to ensure that search and rescue operations continue in order to reach those still stranded and needing assistance.
SINAPRED immediately activated its Sectoral Working Groups/Commissions which are working closely with the United Nations Agencies to better meet the needs in the territory, through the provision of emergency aid such as food, water and sanitation, housing, shelter and logistics, and immediate restoration of agricultural and fishery-based livelihoods. From the moment of the first alerts, the Resident Coordinator, with other members of the UNCT, offered United Nations support to the response efforts, and to carry out the necessary coordination for the response by sectors with the Sectoral Working Groups/Commissions.
For its part, the United Nations Resident Coordinator activated the UN Country Team (UNCT), UN Disaster Management Team (UNDMT) and UN Emergency Team (UNETE) to coordinate the necessary response. To address the emergency situation caused by Hurricane Felix, an Inter-Agency Emergency Response Plan is being implemented and sectoral meetings were activated for water and sanitation, shelter, health, telecommunications and logistics.
In coordination with the Nicaraguan Government, and based on the reports and assessments of official sources, the United Nations System and other partners, there is an international call for US$22,870,535 for emergency relief. (The country team is applying to CERF for a portion of this.) There is also a call for $16,380,100 as an initial indication of requirements for early recovery activities, based on the strong cooperation between the Government and the United Nations and its partners. It is likely that, as assessments continue, this requirement will change in the coming weeks. During the first weeks, the priority will be given to life-saving and life-sustaining activities to support 162,373 affected people in terms of basic needs: food assistance, emergency logistics, shelter, health, water and sanitation, plus coordination of assistance and definition of the most immediate needs for the next weeks and months. All these activities have been conceived in a continuum that will lead to the progressive recovery of livelihoods and human settlements with activities as food for work, provision of seeds and tools, and progressive housing recovery.