Storm rains and flooding during September and the first half of October have affected the country, particularly the department of Rivas, in the south, around the capital, Managua, some coastal areas on the Pacific, and the northern departments of Estel', Madriz and Nueva Segovia. Several of these areas had been severely affected last year by hurricane "Mitch". States of emergency and alert have been declared by the Government in various locations. A number of casualties has been reported and more than 100 000 persons have been directly affected. Roads and minor infrastructure have received the brunt of the damage. Damage to rural housing is also reported, as well as some disease outbreaks in some municipalities. Preliminary assessment of damage to the agricultural sector indicates that about 2.5 percent of the planted area to the second season cereal crops has been affected, although localized damage of a much bigger magnitude is reported. A loss of about 12 percent of the anticipated production from the sesame export crop is estimated. Emergency assistance, including food distribution from the international community, has been provided to the affected population. Despite the damage, near average 1999/2000 grain output is anticipated.