NicaNotes: Rebuilding Update After Hurricanes Eta and Iota

Correction: The previous email sent out today was mistakenly a reprint of an older article you can find here. We apologize for any confusion this might have caused.

Nicaragua Needs Our Solidarity to Rebuild!Nicaragua got slammed by two powerful hurricanes in two weeks in November, Eta, category 4 and Iota, category 5.  Before Hurricane Iota hit, 160,000 people were evacuated from the danger zone. But the hurricanes actually affected most of Nicaragua with serious flooding. Damage is estimated at $742 million dollars, 6.2% of Nicaragua’s gross domestic product.

“Almost the entire country is in a national emergency, because it has been one hurricane after another, and this impacts all of Central America,” President Daniel Ortega said, according to state media.

The Alliance for Global Justice and allied solidarity groups are raising emergency funds through the existing Nicaragua Solidarity Fund “Padre Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann”. The hardest hit part of the country is the North Caribbean Autonomous Region, home to the Miskito and Mayagna people and the largest extant rainforest north of the Amazon.

Disaster officials estimate that more than 165,000 families have been uprooted or otherwise affected. The damage is catastrophic and widespread. Nicaragua is going to need help to rebuild. The US NICA Act has cut it off from most multilateral loans so it is up to you and me to help make up the 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. Put “Nicaragua Hurricane Recovery” in the memo line.

Man counts out zinc galvanized roofing so people can rebuild

woman signs for zinc roofing

On Nov. 24 Minister of Finance and Public Credit Iván Acosta reported that the economic damages caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota are US$742 million, equivalent to 6.2% of Nicaragua’s GDP.

Due to the government’s commendable disaster preparedness and evacuation efforts, 21 lives were lost (far less than in other Central American countries). But the material damages are quite significant. Some 6,000 homes were destroyed and 38,000 damaged, along with 92 schools, 112 health centers, 115 bridges, and 4,107 kilometers of highway.

On Nov. 27, of the 160,597 people in shelters, only 3,743 people remain from Waspam and Bilwi. They are provided with food, security and health care until they are able to restore their lives. More than 99% of electrical service has been restored and 97% of communication service.

Over 350,000 sheets of zinc galvanized roofing have been sent to aid families in home rebuilding in the Caribbean and another 150,000 are on the way. At the end of November, a new contingent of doctors left for the north Caribbean, heading to Rosita, Sahsa and Prinzapolka, to assist families affected by Hurricanes Iota and Eta.

Virgilio Silva, President of the National Port Company, reported that the Government will build a dock and tourist complex in the city of Bilwi in the Northern Caribbean. The construction will be done in three stages starting with the concrete pier. 80% of the pier was destroyed in the two hurricanes. Some of the pier was temporarily repaired to be able to receive diesel, gasoline and items for repairing homes.

The Nicaraguan road network has been restored 100% after the damage caused by the hurricanes, Transport Minister Oscar Mojica announced on Dec. 1. “Nicaragua was disconnected in 28 places, had fallen bridges, destroyed roads and many under water. Passage over the Wawa River has been reestablished, as well as the Waslala – Siuna sections and the bridge in the city of Teustepe, in Boaco department. Eighty-five percent of the streets in the city of Bilwi are clear of debris. Thousands of tons of waste of all kinds was removed,” confirmed Mojica.

Sixty thousand production packages will be given to small producers on the Caribbean Coast for the third planting. These are composed of bean seeds, fertilizers, tools, machetes, hoes, rubber boots and more. The aid will be given to 60 thousand families, distributed among the northern Caribbean, Prinzapolka, Waspam, Bilwi, Siuna, Rosita, Bonanza, Jinotega, Nueva Segovia, Matagalpa. These are the areas with enough rainfall from December to March for a third bean harvest. That is on top of 100,000 production packages consisting of improved seeds, tools and inputs to recover food security with planting and harvesting of corn, plantains, bananas, vegetables, tropical fruits, roots and tubers, fishing equipment, among others, for small and medium-scale producers in Bilwi, Prinzapolka, Waspam, Las Minas, Matagalpa, Jinotega, Nueva Segovia, Rivas, Carazo, Granada and Boaco. Technical support is provided to producers through the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology – INTA.

The Nicaraguan Forestry Institute (INAFOR) announced that starting in December it will deliver more than 30,000 fruit plants to Caribbean Coast families to reforest areas affected by the hurricanes. Priority will be given to reforestation in the hard-hit areas of Bilwi, Waspam, Siuna, Rosita Bonanza, Prinzapolka and Haoulover. According to preliminary data from INAFOR, some 21,000 trees were lost in “urban and peri-urban” areas. “MARENA will work on strengthening protected areas, biodiversity conservation and restoration, supporting local livelihoods with training, environmental clean-up days, waste management and, above all, providing an incentive to producers to continue conserving the pine areas,” said MARENA’s Minister Zumaya Castillo.

One of the saddest results of the hurricanes is that the Miskitu community of Haulover on the north Caribbean was almost completely destroyed. The community made the wise decision to accept the government’s proposal to evacuate to the city of Bilwi before the hurricanes and due to this, there was no loss of life. Carmela Jorge says she feels well cared for, and treated with solidarity at the shelter but she longs to be in the land that saw her birth. Linda Felipe says she most misses the sound of the waves.

 

Briefs

By Nan McCurdy

Loans for Nicaragua Related to Hurricane Relief
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) approved US$443 million for Nicaragua, divided in two loans. The region’s multilateral financial institution explained in a press release that a first loan of US$300 million will be dedicated to a multi-sector program focused on economic reactivation and social protection. Then with a loan of US$143 million the government will undertake an ambitious national program for sustainable electrification and renewable energy. The first contribution is part of the NIC-Solidaria Program and in the case of Nicaragua its implementation will mean the creation of more than 2,100 jobs and an expansion of health care capacity of more than 520 hospital beds, among other benefits that will reach more than a million and a half people. With the second contribution, Nicaragua will be able to reach 99.9% access to electricity and will modernize its electrical network with new substations and reduced technical losses. This is in addition to the US$185.32 million loan from the International Monetary Fund to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. The IMF granted the funds through a US$61.77 million loan delivered through a mechanism called Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and another of US$123.55 million transmitted through the Rapid Financing Facility (RFF). Informe Pastran, 27 Nov. 2020

New Six-minute Video About Beef Production Refutes PBS and Oakland Institute
This new short video about beef production for export refutes disinformation by the Oakland Institute, PBS and other media about Nicaragua’s beef Industry. The video shows that all of the cattle have not one, but two tags as part of the required traceability. It also shows the cattle owners signing contracts not to have cattle or use land in any of the protected areas towards the Caribbean coast. Hundreds of thousands of people work in this industry. Nuevo Carnic, S.A., 23 Nov. 2020

Many Efforts to Support Reforestation and Biodiversity Protection
The Nicaraguan Forestry Institute (INAFOR) announced that it will deliver more than 30 thousand fruit trees to families on the Caribbean Coast to reforest areas affected by the hurricanes. Indiana Fuentes, co-director of the institution, explained that priority will be given to reforestation in Bilwi, Waspam, Triangulo Minero, Prinzapolka and Haoulover. According to preliminary data from INAFOR, about 21 thousand trees were lost in “urban and peri-urban” areas. “MARENA will work on strengthening protected areas, biodiversity conservation and restoration, supporting local livelihoods with training, environmental clean-up days, waste management and, above all, providing an incentive to the producer to continue conserving the pine areas,” said MARENA’s Minister Zumaya Castillo. Informe Pastran, 27 Nov. 2020

Nicaragua Has Resources to Buy the Vaccine
The Government now has the resources to buy the Covid-19 vaccines when they become available, informed Iván Acosta, head of the Treasury. He recalled that they signed loans for 50 million dollars with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and another 57 million with the International Development Bank for the purchase, import and application of the vaccines. “We are prepared with the resources and are only waiting for the effectiveness of the vaccines to be tested before proceeding with their purchase,” said Acosta. Radio La Primerisima, 2 Dec. 2020

Army Helps with Delivery of Food
The Army in coordination with the Nicaraguan Red Cross – Bluefields branch, delivered thousands of food packages in Bluefields, the municipalities of the Cruz de Río Grande, Autonomous Region of the Southern Caribbean Coast, to supply the families affected by hurricane “IOTA.” Informe Pastran, 1 Dec. 2020

Grupo Lala Closes in Costa Rica, Transfers Most to Nicaragua
The Mexican company Grupo Lala announced the closing of operations in Costa Rica on Dec. 11. The capital freed up will be reassigned to the businesses that the company has in Nicaragua and Guatemala, where they consider there is a greater potential for growth. Informe Pastran, 1 Nov. 2020

New Equipment Strengthens Public Health Care
Health Minister Martha Reyes reported that in order to strengthen diagnostic capabilities of the public healthcare system throughout the country 40 primary, regional and national hospitals are being equipped with stationary and portable ultrasound and x-ray machines; thermal cribs; fetal monitors; electrosurgical scalpels, neurosurgical drills; microscopes; centrifuges; spectrophotometers and electrocardiographs. The Minister stated that “this investment in public health strengthens the rapid response capabilities of hospitals and the quality of service.” Nicaragua News, 1 Dec. 2020

Covid – 19 Report December 1
The Health Ministry reported on Dec. 1 that from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30 there were 42 new cases of Covid-19 registered and 46 people recuperated. Since the beginning of the pandemic in Nicaragua in March there have been 4,671 registered cases, 161 deaths and 4,456 people recuperated. Radio La Primerisima, 1 Dec. 2020

Educator Miguel De Castilla Urbina is Honored on his Death
Miguel De Castilla Urbina, famous educator and permanent representative for Nicaragua to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was laid to rest in Managua on Dec. 1. He will be honored in Juigalpa in the Palace of Culture. On Dec. 3 the funeral will take place at UNAN-Chontales. Later, De Castilla, recipient of the Order of Cultural Independence Ruben Dario, will be buried in the Juigalpa cemetery. The Juigalpa Municipal Council voted to create the Miguel De Castilla Urbina Ecological Order and to name a new Geopark for him. De Castilla dedicated sixty years to the educational and cultural life of his country. Radio La Primerisima, 2 Dec. 2020

Government Demands an End to Sanctions
The Government of Nicaragua once again demanded an immediate end to unilateral coercive measures by the United States during a virtual meeting of the United Nations Security Council. the Nicaraguan representative, Jaime Hermida said that it is imperative to immediately suspend the unilateral coercive economic measures imposed on our peoples since these aggressions are true obstacles in the eradication of poverty and to achievement of the Sustainable Development Objectives contained in Agenda 2030. Radio La Primerisima, 26 Nov. 2020