Ortega declares state of national disaster

President Daniel Ortega on Monday evening declared a countrywide “state of national disaster” following eight days of heavy rains that have affected 133,858 people across the country.

The low pressure system, which has lingered over Central America and Mexico since Oct. 10, has dumped continual rains on Managua, Granada, Carazo, Chinandega, León, Madriz, Estelí and Matagalpa, flooding communities and washing out roads and bridges. The rains have already claimed eight lives in Nicaragua, isolated 15,000 families and damaged or destroyed the homes of 12,000 families, according to President Ortega’s Monday night report.

The president assured that his government is bringing supplies to the 15,000 families whose communities have been isolated from the rest of the country by washed out roads and bridges.

Rescue workers are also preparing to evacuate another 600 families that live near the expanding shores of Lake Managua, which has returned to the historic height reached during last year’s rains. Thousands were evacuated last year when the swollen lake consumed several communities that had never before been affected by lake flooding.

A year later, some of those families are still living in temporary shelters, while others have been relocated to government housing projects on dry grounds.

As an added preventive measure, Civil Defense yesterday prohibited people from fishing in Lake Cocibolca or climbing Ometepe Island’s Concepcion Volcano until the rainy season has passed.

State weather authorities are forecasting more rains for the next 48 hours.