Hurricane Iota Hits Nicaragua
The Category 4 storm has landed less than two weeks after Hurricane Eta already caused widespread flooding, damaged homes, ruined agricultural fields, submerged roads and snapped power lines. Now thousands of people urgently need food.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with a full 30% of the population living in poverty, and now Hurricane Iota – just on the heels of Hurricane Eta – is causing landslides, washing away homes and drowning the farms that so many people rely on. It’s a cruel irony that Nicaragua is part of the Dry Corridor, where prolonged droughts are followed by heavy rain that the dry earth can’t absorb fast enough, leaving families destitute and hungry.
people need food assistance
of people work in agriculture
of people live in poverty
Help Support Lifesaving Programs
In response to Hurricane Iota, we’ve shipped 275 metric tons of food and prepositioned mobile storage units, generators, prefab offices, health kits, tents and more—that can be delivered within 72 hours. Emergency response is just part of our work in Nicaragua. We’ve been there since 1971, helping to end hunger through a wide range of programs.
Through its mother-and-child health programs, the UN World Food Programme helps those most vulnerable to hunger: pregnant women, nursing moms and newborns. As kids get older, they receive meals through our National School Meals Program – one of the largest social safety nets in the country.
WFP supplies farmers with modern tools, training, vegetable seeds and fertilizers. We also work to improve their access to water through irrigation projects, which expands their growing capacity. Then, we connect family farmers with regional markets so they can sell their products and earn an income.
A wide gender gap means female farmers face more significant challenges than men, especially when they try to access agricultural markets. WFP works toward gender equality through programs that promote positive attitudes and behaviors towards women’s inclusion in decision-making.
WFP helps families create sustainable livelihoods through programs like Food For Assets and Food For Training which teach valuable skills in exchange for food. We also support the Nicaraguan government with education, school gardens and infrastructure improvement to achieve self sufficiency.
Who's most vulnerable?
Most people’s livelihoods in this country are tied to the weather: Around 70 percent of the population works in agriculture. Nicaragua’s dependence on farming – combined with all that extreme weather – means millions of people are just one bad harvest away from extreme hunger.
1.2 million Nicaraguan kids are living in what WFP's calls "emergency conditions," and nearly 40 percent of children under 5 here are chronically malnourished.
People who live in rural areas have limited access to food supplies, technology and resources. They face much higher rates of poverty and malnutrition. The inhabitants of the Northern Caribbean coast, which has been hit hard by the storm, are mostly indigenous communities who depend on fishing and farming to survive. They are also among the poorest and most vulnerable communities of Nicaragua.
Hunger and Rain
Central America’s Dry Corridor faces erratic weather patterns fueled by climate change. The droughts and floods devastate crops, fuel migration and increase hunger. Like so many of its neighbors, Nicaragua faces increasingly intense natural disasters. In this podcast, we hear from Elio Rujano in Panama who’s witnessed firsthand the impact climate change is having on families here who are already struggling to survive.