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Centro de prensa

News note

UNICEF appeals for over US$2 million in response to Hurricane Felix

MANAGUA, 13 September 2007 - UNICEF calls on the donor community to provide US$2.085 million to cover basic emergency needs for children and women affected by Hurricane Felix, a category five storm that hit Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region on 4 September.

With an initial investment of US$500,000, UNICEF plans to support the local government provide basic needs such as water, health, nutrition as well as children’s re-entry into schools. UNICEF’s representative in Nicaragua, Debora Comini, said, “We’ll support the rehabilitation of damaged schools so that the children can finish their school year.”

The affected areas were visited by representatives from the United Nations agencies, who saw firsthand the magnitude of this disaster. They then met with members of the Regional Autonomous Council who requested UN support to respond to the emergency situation and rehabilitate the region.

According to the Region’s governor, an estimated 155,528 people were affected by the hurricane in a zone mainly inhabited by people from the Miskito, Mayagna and Creole ethnic groups. In addition, 9,809 houses were completely destroyed and 6,678 houses were left without a roof.  Thousands of hectares of forest land were torn down leaving dozens of communities cut off due to flooding and the destruction of access routes. A total of 39 corpses have been identified so far, 76 are awaiting identification and dozens of people are still missing.

According to the Nicaraguan Civil Defense, the affected population’s main needs are food, water and medicine. They also need plastic sheeting, zinc roofing and nails to repair roofs torn off schools, houses and other buildings. The region’s basic grain harvest was completely destroyed by the flooding.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Olga Moraga, UNICEF Nicaragua, +268-0687 Ext.406,
Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York, 212 326 7426,