The Republic of Nicaragua | Urgent call for assistance

The Republic of Nicaragua | Urgent call for assistance

08/01/2021

Central America has been severely affected by a record-breaking hurricane season, with the passage of Category 4 Hurricane Eta across the region in early November 2020, followed by Category 5 Hurricane Iota about two weeks later with the strongest winds experienced in 127 years. The rains, strong winds, flash flooding and storm surges triggered by the Hurricanes have affected about 5 million people across Central America and Mexico, an area already hit by years of erratic weather patterns and more recently by the effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the results of which are potentially catastrophic. The Government of Nicaragua has indicated that preliminary estimates of overall damages and losses due to the Hurricanes amount to more than USD 742 million (6.2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product). So far, about 40 percent of those affected are from Nicaragua – 3 million people mainly from the indigenous territories where artisanal fishing, forestry and agriculture have been significantly impacted. The Hurricanes hit at the start of the lean season when food stocks are already traditionally low and have now been depleted. Moreover, reduced harvests are expected and livestock production has been severely affected, with significant losses. The combined effects of the Hurricanes and of COVID-19 are expected to exacerbate vulnerabilities, with increased levels of food insecurity and malnutrition; as 30 percent of the working population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods, it is essential to provide emergency agricultural support to the most vulnerable, affected households.