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Constant rains affect Nicaragua | Oct 19, 2007

The constant rains that have been terrorizing Nicaragua nationwide have made the national government declare a state of disaster for the entire country. The state of disaster was announced by President Daniel Ortega during a press conference that took place today, Friday, October 19. Various climatological phenomena caused the severe rainfall, which has inflicted severe damages to the agricultural sector, the road network, and the urban centers of several towns and cities.

After hurricane Felix hit the RAAN province in the beginning of September, intense weather systems have persisted, keeping rainfall constant for more than a month and a half (47 days, according to the announcement made during the press conference). Currently, thick clouds cover the sky and rainfall is predicted for nearly all regions of the country.

The constant rainfall has led to a great accumulation of water and to the saturation of the soil. In turn, this has caused many problems. Areas of agricultural cultivation have difficulty coping with the rain, rivers have risen, segments of highways have been destroyed, bridges have collapsed, and city centers have flooded, especially in the north and northeast of Nicaragua.

Even though the big cities along the Pacific strip of the country have not experienced major problems or interruption of the daily routine, cities such as Chinandega and Matagalpa have been affected by significant flooding. Moreover, warnings for possible floods have gone out for regions of high risk in certain parts of the country.

During the press conference, Ortega clarified the government’s opinion that a nationwide state of disaster was appropriate, even though the most severe problems are confined to specific regions of the country. Furthermore, he went on to explain that a state of emergency is not suitable for the situation, as it establishes limitations on certain constitutional rights of all citizens.