ACF Airlifts Water and Sanitation Material into Nicaragua
Action Against Hunger’s team is working in coordination with other international and local organizations to guarantee that the population will have access to drinking water. In Sahsa, the most affected area in the Nicaraguan coast, the five gravity-fed water systems have collapsed. Besides the lack of water, a plague of rats increased the risk of transmission of diseases.
“Kukalaya river has overflowed and the situation is critical: 80% of the population has no access to safe water, people are drinking river water and many latrines have flooded. In Sahsa a plague of rats has appeared and the first cases of diarrhea have been reported. Apart from all the crops being lost, the lands have flooded at the beginning of the sowing season. We are standing at a pure emergency,” explains Mayte Martín Serra, chief of Action Against Hunger’s mission in Central America.
The load of material (10 tanks for distribution and treatment of water, material for first aid, common latrines, bleach, water quality control test, among others) left the military base in Torrejón de Ardoz in a third shipment to Nicaragua organized by Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional. Once in Managua, another plane provided by AECI and the Ministry of Defense allowed transportation of the humanitarian material to the affected area, in Puerto Cabezas. “We want to use part of this material to ease the urgent needs of drinking water either by tanks or purification tablets that families can use at their homes,” explains Quentin Zeller, water and sanitation technician of Action Against Hunger.
The advent of cases of diarrhea and the plague of rats affecting the area increases the risk of transmission of diseases because of lack of hygiene and contaminated water: “this is a critical situation with a very high risk; if we don’t manage to stop it soon it could cause epidemics,” assures Quentin.
For the first intervention, Action Against Hunger (ACF) used funds from Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional. ACF has worked in Central America since 1996, in nutrition, food safety, water and sanitation and disaster prevention projects.