By Andrea Núñez-Flores
More than 10,030 people affected by Tropical Storm # 37 were assisted by Save the Children in the municipality of Prinzapolka, in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), from October 2014 to January 2015.
The floods, which affected 2,030 families, caused that 744 people moved to temporary shelters. Most wells of these isolated communities were contaminated and people lost their subsistence crops.
Israel, a 12 year-old boy, stated: "I was very scared. We thought the river was going to take the house away and we would drown. We had to move to another place, because the water was reaching inside the house."
Among the most serious consequences, Israel says that "we all lost our entire harvest, which is what we have to feed ourselves. Since then, we are eating only twice a day and consuming less types of foods, mostly rice and bananas. Moreover, people have gotten sick because there are many mosquitoes and because the water is dirty."
Save the Children implemented a project to assist the affected population, benefiting 10,032 people, including 4,522 children from 21 communities of difficult access.
The organization, in coordination with the Mayor´s Office and members of COMUPRED (local emergency committee), distributed non-food items, such as mosquito nets, water buckets and black plastic sheets to 1,728 people. Some of these same materials were also donated to the Mayor to attend 658 more families in similar situations in the future.
In addition, because most wells were contaminated and there is no running water, Save the Children technicians rehabilitated 41 community wells (21 rural and two urban) meaning 658 families benefited.
Technicians also rehabilitated eight rainwater systems and installed two more.
Furthermore, 40 health leaders in 10 communities were trained on methods of disinfecting water, good hygiene practices, and safe water fairs were carried out in four communities to promote this knowledge, in coordination with the Ministry of Health.
Save the Children and its partner organization FUNARTE conducted trainings on child friendly spaces during emergencies, with the participation of 31 teachers from all communities.
Finally, child friendly apaces drills were conducted to put in practice the acquired knowledge on the theme, with the participation of parents and children from 11 communities. The purpose of these exercises is to improve community skills in child protection in high risk areas.
Since these communities—mostly of Miskito ethnicity—are located on the Prinzapolka riverbanks, they are very vulnerable to natural disasters. Their isolation and difficult access hinder the arrival of aid from NGOs and the State, which contributes to the high vulnerability of the population.