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Senior UN relief official views flood disaster in Nicaragua

Article / Review by on November 3, 2011 – 7:31 pmNo Comments

Senior UN relief official views flood disaster in Nicaragua

3 November 2011

With an estimated 1.2 million people in Central America affected by severe floods, the United Nations is mobilizing resources to provide life-saving assistance to those in need, as a senior UN relief official visiting Nicaragua today described the situation in the country as a “real disaster.”
Assistant Secretary-General Catherine Bragg (second left) visiting flood-affected areas of Nicaragua

“When you have close to 10 per cent of your geographic area under water, I would say that is a disaster,” said Catherine Bragg, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who will also visit El Salvador starting tomorrow.

“I have been seeing areas where the poorest people were affected and now they have moved to drier land. There is the immediate response that has to happen [and] the level of the lake that surrounds Managua is still rising, which is a permanent threat,” she said when she visited the flood-affected Domitila Lugo area, a low-lying part of the Tipitapa municipality, about 19 kilometres from the capital, Managua.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), meanwhile, reported that many medical facilities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras have been damaged or are inaccessible after the flooding that has followed weeks of torrential rainfall blamed on a tropical depression in the region.

In El Salvador, where over 300,000 people have been affected by floods, UNFPA has deployed two mobile health centres to cater for 150,000 people, including 50,000 who have sought refuge in shelters.

More than 5,000 hygiene kits were distributed to families by UNFPA partners at the onset of the crisis. The kits include hygiene items such as soap, sanitary pads and towels. An additional 5,000 kits will be distributed in the coming weeks.

The UN has issued a flash appeal for $15.7 million to provide emergency assistance to an estimated 300,000 people affected by the disaster in El Salvador, and a separate appeal for $14.3 million for 134,000 affected Nicaraguans.

In Guatemala, UNFPA is helping to coordinate health units made up of doctors and nurses who will travel to the most affected communities to provide emergency maternal health care and conduct epidemiological surveillance.

In Nicaragua, UNFPA is focusing on preventing gender-based violence in shelters for those displace by the floods and on providing assistance to survivors of sexual violence. Psychosocial assistance is also being provided to women in Guatemala through the training of 50 local psychologists on post-traumatic stress management.

 

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

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