Nicaragua

ACT Appeal Nicaragua: Disaster Preparedness & Mitigation - LANI-11

Format
Appeal
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

Appeal Target: US$ 130,145
Geneva, 14 June 2001,

Dear Colleagues,

Nicaragua is a country that has suffered the destruction of its capital twice in a 40-year period and furthermore punished during this same time by devastating hurricanes. Its climate, belonging to a tropical ecosystem, presents great variations in precipitation through which the country oscillates between cycles of drought and flooding. The corridor of tropical cyclones that lash the Atlantic every year crosses Nicaragua provoking extensive flooding or landslides on unstable lands.

ACT International has been present in the process of accompaniment of the affected communities since 1994. The organisations that now form ACT Nicaragua carried out humanitarian aid, rehabilitation and reconstruction projects immediately after Hurricane Mitch, attending to the populations that were directly affected by the disaster. Comprehensive work was carried out during the emergency period followed by rehabilitation and reconstruction activities which concluded in March of this year.

As a follow-up, ACT Nicaragua is proposing a program for local disaster preparedness and mitigation for the most vulnerable communities in the Atlantic and Pacific Coast where its members have a presence. The three ACT members in Nicaragua, participating in this proposal, are: Christian Medical Action (AMC), the Interchurch Center for Theological and Social (CIEETS) and the Lutheran Church of Nicaragua (ILFE). The programmes proposed include:

  • Training
  • Social communication campaigns
  • Advocacy and lobbing
  • Systematisation of organisational experiences
The program will have a co-ordinated approach but it will be implemented individually by each member. The present appeal includes the AMC project only. The projects from CIEETS and the Lutheran Church will be included in a forthcoming revision.

Project Completion Date: 30 June 2002

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
130,145
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network
130,145

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 102539/0.01.061 (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Genève 3
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
Director
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
ACT Coordinator
Rev. Rudolf Hinz
Director
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • ACT Nicaragua
II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

ACT Nicaragua consists of the ACT implementing members in Nicaragua who have been working in disaster response. It is composed of the following organisations that carry out educational and community health activities for the promotion of development in rural and indigenous communities.

Christian Medical Action (AMC)

Christian Medical Action is a Christian non-governmental organisation founded in 1984. Since 1989 it has implemented a community health program benefiting 30,000 people in a sustained fashion in the Atlantic Coastal region of Nicaragua and in Matagalpa. Since Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, it has covered 115 communities and approximately 60,461 people.

The organisation is defined as ecumenical, with activities in health service and development as an expression of Christian practice. Its mission states: AMC is a Christian organisation that implements community health and development activities in poor communities of Nicaragua, with an emphasis on women, children and adolescents.

AMC has accumulated experience in disaster situations that have occurred in the last 10 years and in the face of Hurricane Mitch has played a very important role, making a valuable contribution to the survival of and relief for more than 90,000 people that were seriously affected.

The Interchurch Center for Theological and Social (CIEETS)

The Interchurch Center for Theological and Social was founded by protestant churches and ecumenical service organisations as a non-profit educational and development organisation on 29 July 1986 in the city of Managua.

Its mission defines the organisation as "an integrated rural educational and development organisation, formed by evangelical churches and ecumenical service organisations in order to promote holistic theological education, sustainable human development and interdisciplinary research with the purpose of raising the quality of the churches' ministries and their community programs as well as contributing to improvement in the living conditions of the population."

The CIEETS General Assembly is composed of 33 organisations including pastoral committees and evangelical churches in the country. Since its founding, CIEETS has given special attention to the processes of rehabilitation and development of the various populations with which it has worked. It has broad experience in attention to peasant and indigenous communities.

The fulfilment of its mission and objectives is achieved through three programmatic areas: the Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Co-operation, the Evangelical School for Theological Studies and the Institute for Pastoral Action and Ecumenical Co-operation.

Support areas are the Institute for Social Communication for Development, the George Casalis Central Library, Training of Human Resources, the Administrative and Program Offices and PME.

"Faith and Hope" Lutheran Church of Nicaragua (ILFE)

"Faith and Hope" Lutheran Church of Nicaragua (ILFE) was legally established on 18 November 1990. Its headquarters is located in the nation's capital, with local churches and offices in various locations around the country.

It has carried out emergency actions to confront the effects of Hurricane Joan in 1987, the tidal wave in 1992, Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the Masaya earthquake in 2000 and Hurricane Keith in that same year. ILFE's experience in these situations has allowed them to effectively provide holistic assistance to the victims of natural phenomenon.

III. DESCRIPTION OF THE SITUATION

Background

Nicaragua is a country that has suffered the destruction of its capital twice in a 40-year period and has been punished during this same time by catastrophic hurricanes. Its climate, belonging to a tropical ecosystem, presents great variations in precipitation through which the country oscillates between cycles of drought and flooding. The corridor of tropical cyclones that lash the Atlantic every year crosses Nicaragua due to its geographical position provoking extensive flooding or landslides on unstable lands.

A list of the 28 major disasters that occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean between 1972 and 1998 reveals that eight took place in Nicaragua. Of these, four were climatic, three were seismic and volcanic, and two were armed conflicts. Flooding is the most frequent type of disasters and among the most destructive. In 1982, the storm Alleta caused severe flooding in the western part of the country, resulting in many deaths. In 1990, flooding affected 100,000 people along the banks of the Prinzapolka and Bambana Rivers, and in 1998, the rains brought by Hurricane Mitch caused human and material damages that were without precedent in the history of climatic disasters in Nicaragua.

ACT International has been present in the process of accompaniment of the affected communities since 1994. The three organisations that now form ACT Nicaragua carried out humanitarian aid and implemented rehabilitation and reconstruction projects immediately after Hurricane Mitch, attending to the populations that were directly affected by the disaster. Comprehensive work was carried out during the emergency period followed by rehabilitation and reconstruction components which concluded in March of this year.

ACT Nicaragua is involved in various co-ordination efforts both nationally as well as internationally. It belongs to the Meso-American Christian Commission (CCM) which has proposed the Training of Human Resources in Disasters as a strategy to mitigate vulnerability. It is also a member of the Co-ordinating Organisations that work on children's issues (CODENI) and participates in the Commission for the Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters of the Civil Co-ordinator for Emergency and Reconstruction (CCER). In addition, it participates in the National System for the Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters.

Current situation

As a result of work carried out by the three organisations, some of the human development indicators in the most vulnerable communities have been significantly changed with relevant changes in food security, in the protection of natural resources, in maternal and infant mortality as well as in the coverage of basic services including social infrastructure and sanitation.

In the area of social development, the processes of organisation and community participation have been strengthened, as well as the participation of women in the socio-productive activities of the community.

During the time that members of ACT Nicaragua have been present in these areas, the following limiting factors have been detected:

  • The communities do not have sufficient information and knowledge about the risks and vulnerability to disasters.

  • The local capacity to respond to an eventual emergency caused by a disaster is situational, ineffective and disorganised. In other words, in order to strengthen local capacities, there should be an accompanying access to information which is key to preparing the community to confront a disaster situation.

  • The response of the various actors seems to be spontaneous and isolated due to lack of co-ordination and the absence of networks that allow effective activities for prevention as well as immediate, medium-term and long-term response activities.

  • The community health system and the institutional health system lack links to promote disaster prevention and mitigation activities.

  • Action in the area of mental health does not exist or is scarce. This makes any intervention less effective in care of the affected population groups, especially children, women and senior citizens.

  • The methodological and technical capacity of the teams is directed at a general vision of disaster management that should also have a local focus for risk reduction. It should also include a gender approach because the strengthening of the teams' capacities should serve as an institutional strategy for the promotion of development.
In view of all of the above, ACT Nicaragua attempts to contribute to the preparation of the most vulnerable communities, facilitating those elements needed to allow them to be better informed and organised to face and even prevent future disasters.

Location of the proposed Response

Many of the communities in which ACT Nicaragua has a presence are found in areas with high vulnerability and great risk of flooding, landslides, drought and earthquakes as well as human instigated disasters such as wars and chemical spills. These areas are:

North Atlantic Region: The area is characterised by periodic flooding, affecting indigenous Miskito communities in the rainy season which lasts for eight months each year. The greatest rainfall occurs in the months from September to November. The communities do not have the means to lessen their vulnerability - part of this problem is the marginalization of the region by the state.

Western Region: The communities of this area are located on the slopes of hills and volcanoes and on the banks of the rivers - the scene of the greatest mudslide in the history of Nicaragua during Hurricane Mitch. Currently, there are new settlements in the locations that were affected by Mitch. These areas are also vulnerable to epidemics because of the transition from rural customs to a more urban setting.

North Central Region: Because of its irregular topography, the communities in this area face a constant threat of flooding, mudslides, and soil displacement. To the north of the area, there is little vegetation at the higher elevations, the soils are rocky and gravel, with inclines of approximately 50% to 60% and shallow black soil (8 cms.).

Southern Region: Small populations are located short distances from rivers and brooks. The areas adjacent to Lake Managua in Managua are very populated and, during Hurricane Mitch, the lake invaded these habitats. In the rainy season the water level reaches new highs each time, affecting the population with periodic flooding. The people have accumulated experience in responding to disaster, but not in preventing or mitigating the effects of disasters.

in pdf* format

* Get Adobe Acrobat Viewer (free)