Hurricane Felix Update

September 7, 2007

Central America has suffered significant damage in the wake of Hurricane Felix. Nicaragua and Honduras are particularly hard hit. One Great Hour of Sharing responds.

Donate now to help the United Church of Christ respond to Hurricane Felix.

SITUATION:

As Hurricane Felix dissipates over Central America, government and aid agencies are beginning to cope with its effects. At least 38 people have died and more than 200 remain missing in Nicaragua and Honduras.

Although agencies prepared for the storm with evacuations and pre-positioning supplies, providing relief is difficult as roads, especially in the hard-hit rural areas, have been washed out or are otherwise impassable.

Heavy rains are expected in Honduras and Guatemala, where hillside villages are particularly vulnerable to mudslides. As much as 25 inches of rain could fall. Communication is difficult at the moment, particularly in Honduras. In Nicaragua, officials estimate Hurricane Felix severely impacted at least 35,000 people.

Poverty abounds in Hurricane Felix’s impact zone. In Nicaragua, the hardest hit area is the Northern Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), where an estimated 200,000 people live in poverty.

Of particular note are around 14,000 Miskito Indians, a marginalized people who were not able to evacuate in advance. Honduran officials estimate at least 5,500 Miskito homes destroyed. Providing relief to the Miskito, in the mountainous, rural region along the Nicaragua - Honduras border will be problematic, likely requiring expensive airlifts of supplies.

It may be some time before rural areas can receive relief, as Nicaraguan civil defense officials report extremely high river levels and remaining hurricane-force winds.

 UCC/CHURCH WORLD SERVICE RESPONSE

One Great Hour of Sharing has provided initial funds to CWS for an initial shipment of 15,000 Hygiene Kits to its partners in Nicaragua to provide immediate relief and an additional 20 Medicine Boxes.  Each Medicine Box can treat as many as 1,000 people for common illnesses for two to three months.

UCC/CWS will work with multiple Action by Churches Together (ACT) partners throughout the region to provide immediate relief and subsequent recovery. UCC/CWS will support its partners as communication is re-established and needs become clear.

In Nicaragua, UCC/CWS is supporting the work of seven partners who are already active in providing relief and, in some cases, have been first to reach outlying communities.

Communication is particularly difficult in Honduras, where members of the ACT - Honduras network and operational partners have yet to begin assessment.

As additional relief and long term recovery needs are determined in the days ahead, significant funds will be needed to assist the people of Central America.  Won’t you please help now?

How You Can Help:

1. Pray for the people affected by Hurricane Felix. 

2. Make gifts payable to your UCC Congregation, marked for "International Disaster Fund" in the memo portion, and send to your Conference Office with a note asking that the gift be forwarded to Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

3. Gifts may also be sent directly to Wider Church Ministries.

4. Make a secure online donation now. 

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