Between October 10th and October 19th, the Pacific coast of Nicaragua received heavy rains from Tropical Depression 12E. The storm affected 13 departments, 80 municipalities, and 133,858 persons (from 27,796 households) according to a recent assessment by SINAPRED, FAO, WFP and MAGFOR.
The most affected departments were Chinandega, Managua, Estelí and Leon. The assessment found losses of about 20 percent of area planted with beans and 12 percent planted with maize and recommended the continuation of food assistance to 55,000 persons in shelters and affected communities. Sources of water are reported to be contaminated in these zones. The Ministry of Health (MINSA) is providing the necessary assistance to avoid the proliferation of disease.
The rest of the country had an excellent Primera season, which has permitted households to rebuild their food reserves. The Postrera season is ongoing, and harvest is expected in December. The principal crop from this season is beans which are very important for food availability in Nicaragua and the rest of the region.
The coffee and sugar seasons are expected to be normal this year. This will improve labor opportunities for poor rural households during the high labor season (November 2011 through March 2012) and improve access to food for the poorest households.
Food prices continued to decrease throughout the country in October. White maize prices dropped 29 percent between September and October of this year. Compared to the same month last year, the wholesale price of red beans is 49 percent lower, and the price of white maize is generally at the same level.
The areas affected by the storm are currently receiving adequate assistance from the government and international partners. The food security situation in the affected areas is stressed at this moment and should continue to be monitored.