Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the storm still rages

I know we're all under compassion fatigue, but it bears noting that while the hurricane season appears to be over, the cleanup and recovery process has really only just begun on Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast.

From an article in the Central American University magazine Envio published recently (excerpted, and translated from Spanish).

"400 thousand hectares of forest devastated. And the yucca, rice, plantains, fruits, everything ruined, almost everything lost. The animales surely dead and those who survived, without their habitat. What are they going to eat for these next few week, months, in the year to come? What are they going to sell, with what are they going to buy salt, oil, soap, clothes, medicine? How are they going to pay the costs of school for their children? From a social reproduction standpoint, Hurricane Felix destroyed the economic equilibrium between the needs of the community, the resources of the forest, and the relationship between them, which translates into the material goods and symbols that Bilwi (the city) obtains. One does not even dare to speak of an incertain future, for the primary worries are still in the present.

Said one man, 'the worst is yet to come. We are campesinos and if we do not begin to plant we will not eat." The gravest reality is not clearing the way to the land, which could take more than a week. The most serious issue is that they don't have seeds to begin the planting cycle. With the forest devastated, more than ever their lives depend on clearing the way to their gardens, obtaining seeds to plant, avoiding what would be a second tragedy--brushfires when the rainy season ends.

Looking at the map of the area, with the exception of the work of the World Food Program to bring food to all of the affected communities, the aid has followed and continues to follow the route of the institutions who already work in certain territories. In this way, the communities least attended before the hurricane, continue to be so afterwards."

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