The Alliance for Global Justice and solidarity groups working with its Nicaragua Network project, are launching today a campaign to raise emergency funds through the existing Nicaragua Solidarity Fund “Padre Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann” in order to support the Nicaraguan government’s efforts to rebuild damaged infrastructure and support the thousands of people who have been severely affected by Hurricane Julia. You can donate by clicking here.
In the early morning hours of October 9th, Julia made landfall directly on Bluefields, Pearl Lagoon and Taspa Pauni in the Nicaraguan Southern Caribbean Autonomous Region. The hurricane then continued across the country, damaging roads, water, communication and energy systems, homes and schools, with heavy winds followed by torrential rains all over the country, as can be seen in the pictures below.
Government preparedness prevented major tragedies during Hurricane Julia. Days earlier, under the coordination of SINAPRED (National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention), national, regional and municipal governments, government ministries such as Health and Education, and technical agencies for water, communication and energy worked endlessly to prepare for the coming hurricane. The number one priority was to save lives and, so far, there has only been one death reported as of the night of Oct. 10th, caused by a tree falling on a man on a street in Jinotega. Donate here.
At present, teams of specialists are working around the clock to restore basic services. Water, communications, electricity, food packages, and roofing are arriving for families in El Rama, Bluefields, and Corn Island and other municipalities of the Southern Autonomous Region.
The damage is catastrophic and widespread. Nicaragua needs our help to rebuild. We can help make a difference. Please make a tax-deductible contribution today at https://bit.ly/nicaraguasolidarityfund or send a check to Alliance for Global Justice, 225 E 26th St., Ste. 1, Tucson, AZ 85713. Please put “Nicaragua Hurricane Recovery” in the memo line.
Here are some links to more information in Spanish and photos of the hurricane damage and relief efforts.
Preparación del Gobierno evitó grandes tragedias durante el paso de Julia Radio La Primerisima, 10 Oct. 2022
Gobierno envía alimentos y zinc a zonas afectadas por Julia Radio La Primerisima, 10 Oct. 2022
No hay fallecidos hasta ahora por Tormenta Tropical Julia Radio La Primerisima, 9 Oct. 2022
A Circular Economy that Binds Communities Together
By the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign of Great Britain
[This article was originally published on the NSC web page here: https://nicaraguasc.org.uk/2022/06/a-circular-economy-that-binds-communities-together/]
Seventy per cent of Nicaragua’s workforce is employed in the social economy, a sector that not only generates 65% of GDP but has sustained the country through crises including the 2018 coup attempt, two major hurricanes in 2020, and the pandemic.
In recognition of the importance of this sector, in 2012 the government set up the Nicaraguan Ministry for the Family, Community, Co-operative and Associative Economy (MEFCCA). The sector covers small and medium size businesses and farms, co-operatives, associations, self-employed workers and encompasses agriculture, services, tourism, transport, housing, savings and credit, and housing.
When the Sandinista government returned to power in 2007, they launched a National Human Development Plan accompanied by well-integrated policies, programmes, and projects aimed at reducing the entrenched problem of high levels of poverty. At the time at least half of the country’s population was living below the poverty line, particularly in rural areas.
The first building block put in place was restoring the basic rights of all Nicaraguans to free health care and education. The setting up of MEFCCA was a key part of the further restoring these rights through addressing food security with the zero hunger and low interest credit programmes for rural women, road infrastructure and electrification.
The country has achieved nearly 90% food sovereignty and largely eliminated hunger. MEFCCA has extended its focus to programmes in rural and urban areas that develop entrepreneurship.
Minister of MEFCCA Justa Perez explains how programmes to cut poverty complement and build on each other: ‘If families have access to free health care and education for their children, if they have a good road to make it easier to get produce and goods to markets, if they have electricity, if they have markets to sell their products, they then have greater capacity to think about how to generate more income, to add value to their products and access more markets.’
Karen Laguna owns a small family business in the Department of Leon that sells traditional Nicaraguan food. She is one of 29,000 families that have been involved in the MEFCCA Sustainable Development of Rural Families’ Livelihoods Project (NICAVIDA). The aim of the Project is to transform rural economies and food systems to make them more inclusive, productive, resilient and sustainable.
NICAVIDA directly benefits vulnerable households, particularly women, in eight departments in the so called ‘Dry Corridor’, a region highly susceptible to climate change.
Karen Laguna explains the impact of the programme: “It has enabled us to support our families by backing our businesses, increasing sales, and managing and improving the infrastructure of our premises. “
NICAVIDA provides well integrated support to help increase the income of the beneficiaries, improve their nutritional quality of their food and strengthen their capacity to adapt to climate change, particularly by facilitating access to water.
NICAVIDA has been co-financed by the Nicaragua government and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) in conjunction with the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Last year, NICAVIDA received the 2021 IFAD Latin America Gender Award. An agency of the United Nations, IFAD works to help communities around the world achieve transformative change through the gender equality projects they support and each year recognizes a project from each of five regions around the world.
CABEI Executive President Dante Mossi commented about the award, saying, ”We are proud to support this type of transformation and social welfare initiative. As CABEI we are creating the necessary conditions to continue promoting the active participation of women in society.”
NICAVIDA also includes infrastructure projects such as wells, reservoirs, school gardens, reafforestation, roads, bridges, seed banks, installing wood–saving ovens (to cut carbon emissions) and the rehabilitation of facilities, generating nearly 20,000 jobs.
By Nan McCurdy
Preliminary Report on Damages Caused by Hurricane Julia
The government has presented its Preliminary Assessment of Damages Caused by Hurricane Julia. The evaluation states that 12,858 people were evacuated and placed in 33 shelters. The storm destroyed 20 homes, 820 were flooded or severely damaged and 12 schools were damaged. Dr. Guillermo González, Director of the National System for Disaster Prevention, Mitigation and Attention (SINAPRED) announced that “So far no deaths attributable to hurricane Julia have been reported, however, there are people with minor injuries that are being treated by the Ministry of Health.” He added that the government has issued a red alert for the national territory due to the rise in water levels in nine rivers, landslides, heavy rains, and floods caused by the hurricane. “We remind the population to remain alert and follow recommendations from local and national authorities. We also want to emphasize that the most important thing in emergency situations is the preservation of life.” (Nicaragua News, 10 Oct. 2022)
Aid Arrives in Bluefields for Residents with Hurricane-Damaged Homes
Trucks loaded with 12,000 sheets of galvanized metal roofing for more than 1,526 families whose houses were partially damaged or destroyed in Bluefields arrived on Oct. 11 in the port city. Another shipment will be sent by water to Corn Island. SINAPRED sent a food caravan to El Rama consisting of 2,500 food packages for 12,500 people. Photos: HERE (Radio La Primerisima, 11 Oct. 2022)
More Aid and Roofing for El Rama
On Oct. 11 a second shipment of food, supplies and roofing was sent to El Rama for the thousands of families affected by Hurricane Julia. Dr. Guillermo González, head of SINAPRED, said that in this second shipment food and supplies are guaranteed to cover most of the families of El Rama, in addition to crews sent by ENACAL for the cleaning of wells; and MINSA sent chlorine to add to the effort to recover the wells for drinking water. (Radio La Primerisima, 11 Oct. 2022)
Government Preparedness Prevented Major Tragedies during Hurricane
The preparation of the government of Nicaragua before and during the passage of Julia was crucial to prevent and attend to emergencies caused by the hurricane, reported Dr. Guillermo González, Director of SINAPRED. Another important factor was the communication that Vice President Rosario Murillo had with the people, since she was constantly reporting about the storm and providing recommendations. “The figures must be seen as a national effort. Now we have to see the material damages, and begin a recovery process that will allow us to continue advancing.” Hurricanes Juana  and Cesar  had the same trajectories as Julia, “but the enormous difference is in the population being more aware, organized, with better articulated institutions, and good preparation made by the government of President Daniel, who anticipated all these circumstances.” Photos: HERE (Radio La Primerisima, 10 Oct. 2022)
No Deaths Reported on Afternoon of Oct. 9
As of the afternoon of Oct. 9 there were no fatalities reported by the passage of Hurricane Julia. At least 9,500 people were sheltered in family homes or rehabilitated shelters, but many have returned to their communities. Vice President Rosario Murillo explained that as a consequence of downed power lines there is a loss of communication, but there is contact through satellite telephones, with the mayor’s offices and with the leaders who are attending to this situation. The hurricane entered the territory on the Caribbean coast at 1:15 a.m. between Laguna de Perlas and Orinoco. It followed a route through San Francisco Libre, La Paz Centro, the city of Leon and is projected to exit to the Pacific Ocean by Corinto, in the department of Chinandega. Photos: HERE (Radio La Primerisima, 9 Oct. 2022)
In Nicaragua Authorities Safeguard Lives before the Arrival of the Hurricane
On Oct. 8, Vice President Rosario Murillo said that the government is working to be ready before the arrival of Hurricane Julia, stressing that the priority is to safeguard lives. “We hope to be ready to safeguard lives, because that is what we prioritize, life, the sacred life of all citizens … Murillo also said that these events are also an enormous exercise to put into practice what we know, “what we have learned and to continue advancing in that learning…. Since the possibility was declared by the weather agencies, that this category one Hurricane Julia would reach our coasts, we have been on alert in preparation, in high readiness of service to our people, and service to each other, knowing that also in communication with each other we learn together. We have been coordinating all the efforts of the different government entities and SINAPRED, communicating with the communities, social leaders, faith leaders, communicating with the local authorities to guarantee that all the necessary measures are taken and will continue to be taken to protect us, to face this event that, if we do not take care of ourselves, could be catastrophic,” she said. More than 3,000 families of the Caribbean Coast have been evacuated by members of the Army to shelters. (Radio La Primerisima, 8 Oct. 2022)
World Bank Recognizes Sustained Economic Growth
The World Bank published a report on Latin America and the Caribbean entitled “New Approaches to Close the Tax Gap” projecting that the Nicaragua Gross Domestic Product will grow 4.1% in 2022. Multilateral financial organizations are always very conservative in their growth projections for Nicaragua. But the World Bank has had to recognize that the country maintains the momentum achieved last year when GDP grew 10.3% and has readjusted its forecasts for 2022, projecting growth from 2.9% to 4.1%, which is close to the Nicaragua Central Bank’s goals of 5% or more. With this forecast, Nicaragua is the second fastest growing economy in the region. (Radio La Primerisima, 5 Oct. 2022)
Important New Bridge Finished in Nueva Segovia
On Oct. 5 the government inaugurated the San Bartolo bridge in the department of Nueva Segovia. A modern 40-meter-long bridge that will benefit 34,000 inhabitants of Quilalí, Wiwilí, San Bartolo, El Barro and El Bosque, among others. The bridge has two lanes, includes pedestrian walkways, access ramps, horizontal and vertical signaling to ensure the safety of the inhabitants. Its construction generated 135 jobs during 10 months. It will boost production contributing to the reduction of poverty of the local families. See photos: https://radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias-generales/destacado/inauguran-puente-san-bartolo-en-nueva-segovia/ (Radio La Primerisima, 5 Oct. 2022)
Teustepe Bridge Inaugurated
On Oct. 10 the government inaugurated the 92-meter long Teustepe Bridge over the Malacatoya River in the Department of Boaco, contributing to the communication of thousands of people. Minister Oscar Mojica of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said that “this modern bridge was built taking into account the coefficients of climate change. That is to say that at its maximum capacity it still will be able to manage the waters in the medium and very long term.” (Informe Pastran, 10 Oct. 2022)
Nicaragua to Have Largest Hospital in Caribbean Zone of Central America
The Sandinista government is building the largest hospital in the Central American Caribbean, the Nuevo Amanecer [New Dawn] Regional Hospital in the city of Bilwi. The construction began in 2019, and is 43% complete. It will benefit more than half a million inhabitants of the municipalities of the North Caribbean Autonomous Region. The works involve an investment of approximately US$100 million with funds from the National Budget and loans from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, CABEI. For the first time, Caribbean families will receive attention in 12 medical specialties with high-tech equipment. This hospital will be completed by 2023. See photos: HERE (Radio La Primerisima, 5 Oct. 2022)
New Schools In Operation
The Ministry of Education completed construction of new schools in Jinotepe, Carazo; La Concepción, Masaya; and San Juan de Limay, Estelí. It also declared Municipalities Free of Empiricism in El Rama, Murra, Nindirí, Nueva Guinea and Bonanza [all teachers now have degrees]. (Informe Pastran 6 Oct. 2022)
More Support for Small Dairy Producers
In support of 377 small producers, the Ministry of Family Economy allocated US$816,438 to increase the production of milk and other dairy products in Chontales and Río San Juan departments, and the South Caribbean Autonomous Region. The financing will be used to build milking parlors, improve the cold chain infrastructure, and purchase equipment to process the dairy products. The initiative is part of the Livestock Value Chain Support Program. (Nicaragua News, 6 Oct. 2022)