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European Law Monitor newsHurricane Felix: Commission grants initial emergency humanitarian aid of €1m to Nicaragua

Days after Hurricane Felix hit Central America, it is clear that the damage caused is extensive. The Commission has therefore decided to grant initial emergency humanitarian aid of €1m to Nicaragua. This initial aid, granted by the Commission´s humanitarian aid department (ECHO) will go towards helping hurricane victims in the north of the country. The funds will be managed by ECHO under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

The information gathered by experts from ECHO, the Commission´s humanitarian aid department, in Managua, in coordination with partner humanitarian organisations on the ground, indicates that at least 40 000 people have been affected by the hurricane, with thirty dead and 200 missing. Over 9 000 houses have been destroyed or seriously damaged.

In response, the Commission has decided immediately to grant initial emergency humanitarian aid of €1m. This aid could address the following identified immediate needs:

* supply of drinking water and sanitation;
* temporary shelters;
* health care;
* food distribution;
* distribution of essential items (blankets, clothes, hygiene kits);
* logistics, transport and telecommunications.

The exact scale of the need is not yet known and certain areas are still very difficult to reach. Humanitarian missions to assess the situation are under way. The Commission stands ready to increase its financial aid in response to the findings of these assessments and other international aid granted.

Given the force of the hurricane and the considerable damage caused, there would certainly have been many more fatalities had natural disaster preparedness mechanisms not been in place. The emergency committees set up as part of a Commission disaster preparedness programme (DIPECHO) in the Felix impact area enabled locals to be informed in good time and evacuations to be organised. Once again, disaster preparedness programmes have saved lives.

Hurricane Felix has now reached Honduras and been downgraded to a tropical storm; less damage is therefore expected than was feared a few days ago. The regional ECHO office in Managua is continuing closely to monitor Felix´s progress across Central America and to assess the damaged caused across the countries affected, and stands ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance.

More information is available on the Commission´s humanitarian aid website:

Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission REF IP/07/1287