Between Wednesday and Friday of last week (4-6 October) Tropical Storm Nate caused a huge amount of damage throughout Central America. Here in Nicaragua at least 16 people were killed and more than 6,000 homes destroyed, many of them just a few miles from our home here in San Juan del Sur.
Since the storm cleared on Friday there has been a huge ongoing relief effort, but it has not been easy. Many of the worst affected areas have become isolated due to bridges being damaged and rivers bursting their banks. The wells that people rely upon for clean drinking water have been contaminated, and they are lacking other basic necessities such as food, clothing, and sanitary products.
Earlier today we visited two of the affected communities and witnessed first-hand the severity of the situation.
The first place we visited was the community of Collado. We had a personal reason for going as the sister of the lady who cleans our office lives there. Her home has been completely destroyed.
Juana Olivia Rodriguez is a single mother of 4 children, the oldest of whom has a disability. When the river burst its banks early on Thursday morning it re-routed straight through her house. There is very little left except for the roof.
Due to it's location, Juana's home was the only one in the community to suffer such severe damage. This is obviously a good thing for the rest of the community, but it is bad for Juana as it means that Collado is not a high-priority area for official aid.
The second location that we visited was Tortuga. This is a much larger community than Collado but it has now been separated by rivers in several places. The houses at the front of the community have been receiving aid as they are easily accessible, but the ones to the rear are still in need of help. Houses have been partially or completely destroyed, and the people want to rebuild on higher ground away from the river. However, with no access road or electricity, that is going to take a lot of time. What they need most at the moment is a source of clean drinking water, and mattresses to sleep on.
There are multiple groups trying to help the affected communities. At the moment each group is working independently of each other, but efforts are being made to co-ordinate and share information. However, with so many people affected across the entire country, there is still not enough aid to go around.
So far Nicaragua Tour Network has managed to raise over $1000, thanks in part to a generous donation from www.bonusbank.com.au. This money should be enough to build a new home for Juana Rodriguez, but will not leave much to help the people of Tortuga and the other affected areas.
For that reason, we are asking for your help. If you can afford to donate even a small amount please do so via the PayPal button below. Even a small donation can make a big difference.
Every penny of your donation will go to help those in need, and we will work with community leaders to ensure that it is used in the most effective way. We will also post updates on how your donations are being used and the differences that they are making.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for any donations that you can make.
Last night there was a meeting of all of the local groups who are trying to help. The purpose of the meeting was to co-ordinate so that efforts are not duplicated in some areas, or neglected in others.
With about 50 people present, not one other group mentioned that they were working in Collado, the area where we want to rebuild Juana's home. So Nicaragua Tour Network will now be leading the relief effort for all of Collado and the neighbouring community of Cangrejo.
To date, we have managed to raise $1657 thanks to some generous donations. We have also managed to procure a donation of $500 worth of groceries from a national supermarket, plus vans to help up get it to the communities.
There is still much that is needed though, especially now that we have a larger remit. Please help by donating whatever you can.
Total Raised $2142
Huge thanks to:
Eddie & Liz McNelis, Paul Cooper, bonusbank.com.au, Michael Burrows, Justine Curtis, David Scott, Kathryn Burrows, Chris Burrows, Jonathan McNelis, Hannah McNelis, Matt Quinn, Rachel McNelis, Betty Cooper, Claire McCorkindale, Margaret Ann Scott, Rebecca Thirkettle, La Colonia Supermarkets, & Valerio Architects.
If you would prefer not to donate via PayPal please contact us directly for alternatives or donate to one of the other groups in the area. Here are some links to GoFundMe pages - Link 1 Link 2 Link 3 Link 4
(NB - We have chosen not to use GoFundMe for our own campaign dues to the fact that they take 7.9% of all donations and do not pay out to Nicaraguan banks, meaning even more currency conversion and transfer fees down the line)