Nicaragua floods mission

MANAGUA, 20 Oct – Responding to severe flooding in central America, a MapAction team is deploying to Nicaragua today.

Torrential rain from Tropical Depression 12-E has caused extensive flooding across Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Damage to roads and infrastructure from landslides has left many communities cut off from help.

A United Nations disaster assessment team was mobilised on Wednesday 19 October to assist in Nicaragua, where the government declared a state of emergency after more than 130,000 people were reported as affected. A MapAction team was requested to support the UN mission.

MapAction volunteers James Steel and Adia Bey flew out from the UK on Thursday morning to Managua, to rendezvous with the UN team. They took with them extensive GIS data for the region, assembled overnight from a wide range of sources by other MapAction team members through the charity’s well rehearsed ‘data scramble’ procedures. Meanwhile, mission equipment was prepared at MapAction’s new operations centre in Saunderton in Buckinghamshire, UK.

James Steel has deployed on numerous humanitarian missions with MapAction, including to Haiti, Pakistan, South East Asia and most recently to North Africa in March. For Adia Bey it is her first emergency mission since she joined the charity as a volunteer early this year. She recently took part in a UN disaster response training course in Peru.

James Steel commented: “The MapAction team has completed the preparation for this mission with their usual speed and efficiency. Two hours after the ‘go’ decision yesterday evening a briefing about the available map data, a list of the mission kit that will be waiting for us at Heathrow airport, and a full security risk assessment had all been forwarded to my blackberry! Great teamwork”.

Maps will be published on the Nicaragua deployment page.