UNICEF seeks over $2 million to aid thousands of Nicaraguan hurricane victims
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is seeking over $2 million in relief aid over the next six months for victims of Hurricane Felix in Nicaragua, where up to 100,000 people are estimated to have been affected by the disaster and thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
“Serious damage to the road, communication and public services infrastructure, and loss of crops and food supplies has been reported,” UNICEF said in its latest update. While it is too early to provide precise information, the agency said “it is clear that there will be a serious water and sanitation problem.”
Over 13,000 people are currently living in temporary shelters set up on higher ground and in schools located in stable buildings.
UNICEF, along with governmental and UN partners, mainly the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO), are making urgent preparations to meet the demand for emergency supplies and services that is expected in the coming days.
UNICEF has begun providing blankets and water purification equipment for the population in the shelters. During the next few days, humanitarian aid will start reaching more dispersed communities, including nutrition for children aged 6 to 24 months, prevention of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases, and rapidly re-opening schools.
Over the January to March period, UNICEF will focus on supporting mobile medical teams to reach isolated communities as well as the rehabilitation and improvement of sanitation conditions to reduce the population’s vulnerability in future emergencies, including the rehabilitation of water systems and wells.
The agency will also improve affected school buildings to reduce the danger for children and support the Ministry of Education in establishing continuity in the school curriculum and teacher training to ensure the quality of learning between both school years.
Most of the communities affected are very isolated and can only be reached by small boats along the river or by helicopter. The logistics of all emergency and rehabilitation activities are therefore very complex, which increases costs for both transport of supplies and personnel.