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Agua Para La Vida

5464 Shafter Avenue

Oakland, CA 94618

(510) 643-8003

www.aplv.org

Newsletter December 1998

Hurricane Mitch

On October 27, Hurricane Mitch struck Central America, causing serious devastation and loss of life. The toll in Nicaragua is over 2,500 people dead, 1000 people missing, and an estimated 900,000 people homeless or otherwise severely affected by the disaster. Basic infrastructure including roads, bridges, electric and telephone lines were destroyed or damaged throughout the country. Agriculture, which accounts for over half of the country’s economic output, took a huge hit. Initial estimates of damage are in the $1.5 billion range.

Water systems were obviously severely impacted. The Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's early assessment that the most urgent short-term needs are for food and shelter has been revised to include clean water and control of communicable diseases. In many areas, water systems have become extremely contaminated and water-borne diseases such as cholera and leptospirosis are starting to be confirmed.

Initial reports from APLV communities in the Rio Blanco region indicate that the damage to our drinking water systems was minor. This is due to the fact that Rio Blanco was not hit has hard by the storm as some other regions and also because our gravity flow spring systems are less susceptible to damage and contamination from flooding than wells.

A number of APLV donors contacted us with concern and support. We have collected several thousand dollars which we have wired to groups we are familiar with doing excellent relief work. Of course, the recovery work will be ongoing. It will be decades before the country recovers from this disaster. We are hoping that efforts to convince lender nations to forgive the foreign debts of the affected countries will be successful. That would be a huge boost to these people who were in such a difficult position even before the hurricane.

Gilles and Charlie will be going to Nicaragua in mid January, partly to assess the situation with our program and partly to attend the ceremony for first graduates of our school! We will be hiring two of them to work with us and we hope the others will find water-related work in the region. There is even more to do now after the devastation of Mitch.

As always, we appreciate your continued support. We will report back in a few months after our trip.

Peace and Good Health,

 

 

Charlie Huizenga Gilles Corcos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agua Para La Vida

5464 Shafter Avenue

Oakland, CA 94618

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

q $25 Material cost for drinking water for one person
q $50 Material cost of 500 seedlings for reforestation
q $100 Material cost of a latrine for a family
q $200 Sponsorship for one APLV technical student for one month
q $200 Material cost for drinking water for an entire family
q Other  
     
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