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Hurricane Felix kills 21 in Nicaragua

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 04:12am (Mla time) 09/06/2007

MANAGUA -- Powerful Hurricane Felix killed at least 21 people in Nicaragua after striking the country's northern Caribbean coast, the regional governor said on Wednesday.

"We have 21 dead and it is possible that will increase. We must speed up (search) efforts," said Reynaldo Francis, governor of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, which was hit hard by the storm that struck Tuesday.

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Twenty-one dead, 200 missing in Nicaragua hurricane

Wed Sep 5, 2007 9:12PM BST

PUERTO CABEZAS, Nicaragua, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Hurricane Felix killed at least 21 people on Nicaragua's low-lying Caribbean coast and over 200 people were missing after the storm laid waste to thousands of flimsy homes, the government said on Wednesday.

The Navy was trying to reach settlements on marshy spits of land by the sea or on keys to look for more injured or dead from Felix, which crashed into the coast on Tuesday as a monster Category 5 hurricane.

"There are more than 200 people missing," Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said in the port of Puerto Cabezas.

People wept at the harbor in Puerto Cabezas, inhabited mostly by Miskito Indians, for 12 fishermen they said had failed to return from sea.

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It looks as if the eye passed directly over the Corn Islands. My heart goes out to these folks! The Miskito Coast is an amazing place and has interesting ties to Belize.

The Anglican Church, worldwide name of the Episcopal Church, had its beginnings in Central America in the early Nicaragua) when 17th a priest was sent from London to baptize Century in Bluefields, the Kingdom of the Miskito Coast (today buccaneer children. The British government was the official protector of this territory, and since the pirates were settled there already, took possession of the industry. (It should be mentioned in passing that the Miskito kings during the time of the protectorate were crowned in St. George's Anglican Cathedral in Belize, using the English coronation service


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Hurricane Felix kills 38 on Nicaraguan coast
Thu Sep 6, 2007 8:07AM IST

By Oswaldo Rivas

PUERTO CABEZAS, Nicaragua (Reuters) - Hurricane Felix killed at least 38 people on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast and more than 80 people were missing after the storm destroyed thousands of flimsy homes, the government said on Wednesday.

As soldiers combed the area around Puerto Cabezas port, the Navy tried to reach settlements on marshy spits of land or on keys to look for more casualties from Felix, which crashed into the coast on Tuesday as an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane.

"We had 21 dead at midday and we've now found 17 more. This figure could go up," disaster prevention chief Col. Ramon Arnesto told reporters. "There are a lot of missing people, we don't know, there could be more or less 80 people," he said.

People wept at the harbor in Puerto Cabezas, inhabited mostly by Miskito Indians, for 12 fishermen they said never returned from work.

Visiting the area, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said about 9,000 homes in the area were destroyed. Residents worked with police and soldiers to try to clear dozens of uprooted trees lying in the street.

"We are talking about really serious damage," Ortega said.

Felix revived memories throughout Central America of Hurricane Mitch, which killed 10,000 people in 1998.

The latest storm weakened to a tropical depression after entering Honduras on Tuesday and residents of the capital, Tegucigalpa, appeared to escape major damage this time around.

Only drizzle fell in Tegucigalpa, which flooded when Mitch rampaged through, but heavy rain in the north of the country flooded villages and left two rivers close to bursting their banks.

There were no reports of deaths in Honduras.

Felix came on the heels of another Category 5 hurricane, the most powerful type of storm. Last month, Hurricane Dean killed 27 people in the Caribbean and Mexico last month.

It was the first time on record that two Atlantic hurricanes made landfall as Category 5 storms in one season.

In the Pacific Ocean, Hurricane Henriette, a Category 1 storm, hit mainland Mexico after lashing the Los Cabos resort on Tuesday before roaring through the Gulf of California.

A foreign tourist walking on the beach in Los Cabos, on the Baja California peninsula, was killed on Monday after being dragged away by big waves as the storm approached.

Coffee producers in Nicaragua and Honduras did not report damage to the crop, vital to the two countries' economies.

(Additional reporting by Ivan Castro in Managua and Noel Randewich in Tegucigalpa)

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Felix toll rises to at least 98 as bodies are pulled from the sea
The Associated Press
Published: September 6, 2007

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PUERTO CABEZAS, Nicaragua: U.S., Honduran and Nicaraguan soldiers searched remote jungle beaches and the open sea Thursday for survivors and cadavers after Hurricane Felix claimed at least 98 lives, many of them Miskito Indians who died fleeing the Category 5 storm.

Two days after the storm hit, dozens more bodies were recovered along the Miskito coastline that stretches across the Nicaragua-Honduras border, including at least 44 Indian fishermen whose bodies were found floating at sea, emergency officials said.

Abelino Cox, a spokesman for the Regional Emergency Committee, said the death toll from Felix had risen to 98, including two people killed in the village of Sing Sing, 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Puerto Cabezas.

The storm also completely destroyed the ethnic Zumo and Mayagna Indian community of Awastingni, located 90 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of Puerto Cabezas, Cox said. Fourteen members of the jungle community were missing.

"This is horrifying," said Brooklin Rivera, a lawmaker who is on the emergency committee.

Felix damaged or destroyed nearly 8,000 houses in and around Puerto Cabezas and 18,000 Nicaraguans are living in shelters, civil defense officials said.

Earlier Thursday, rescuers found at least 25 bodies floating in waters off Honduras' coast and another 32 people were still missing after their village was destroyed and the boats they fled on capsized. Some 52 survivors washed ashore or were found clinging to debris. The 25 bodies were included in the death toll of 98.

Aid was arriving slowly in the region, where descendants of Indians, European settlers and African slaves live in stilt homes on island reefs and in small hamlets, surviving by fishing and diving for lobster.

Interviewed by phone from the swampy jungle area, Honduran Col. Saul Orlando Coca told The Associated Press that U.S. and Honduran military officials were patrolling the sea and inlets with helicopters and boats as soldiers walked beaches on foot. Villagers joined the search, paddling their canoes through waters thick with fallen trees.

"There are still bodies of Nicaraguans floating in the sea that we haven't recovered," Coca said.

Martin Alvarez, who captains a fishing boat, radioed in to Nicaraguan authorities that he had pulled nine decomposing bodies from the ocean and was bringing them back to shore, but that had yet to be confirmed, said Ramon Arnesto Soza, a Nicaraguan civil defense chief.

Throughout the region, those who survived the storm lacked food and fresh water. An AP photographer reached one isolated village where the only thing to drink was the water in fallen coconuts.

The Nicaraguan government said it would need at least US$30 million (�22 million) to rebuild.

The U.S. Southern Command sent an amphibious warship, the USS Wasp, to Nicaragua to help coordinate U.S. relief efforts. Venezuela also sent aid, and 57 Cuban doctors and nurses already on medical missions along the Miskito coast helped as well.

Felix developed very quickly over the deep warm waters of the southern Caribbean. Nicaragua posted a hurricane warning less than 24 hours before it hit the coast, and scrambled to notify the remote, autonomous region where many have a long-standing mistrust of the central government. Few realized the storm would grow to a Category 5 hurricane so quickly, and some who were warned didn't believe it would be so dangerous.

In Honduras, a 15-year-old was buried by mud while trying to repair a water line in Tegucigalpa, and a 34-year-old man drowned in El Progreso. Late Thursday, emergency officials said a pregnant market vendor was killed in Tegucigalpa when a rainstorm caused a river to overflow. It was unclear if these deaths were included in the toll given by Nicaraguan officials.

The remnants of Henriette, meanwhile, dumped rain Thursday on Arizona and New Mexico. That hurricane hit Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday, near Cabo San Lucas and again near the port city of Guaymas, then weakened over the Sonoran desert.

It left 10 dead, including a man who fell while trying to repair his roof. One woman drowned in high surf in Cabo San Lucas, and landslides buried six people in Acapulco as Henriette marched up the Pacific Coast.

On Thursday, Sonora state police said two more people died. Gaspar Gonzalez Melchor, 25, and his 2-year-old son Marco Antonio Gonzalez Molinares, died from carbon monoxide exposure after they set up a gasoline-powered generator inside their house amid the storm.

Some 5,000 people woke up in Mexican shelters Thursday. San Carlos, a beach town near Guaymas packed with American retirees, was among those hit.

"Waves reached up to the boulevard," said resident Fatima Reyes, 23. "It blew away roofing, trees and signs."

Cuevas reported from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Associated Press writers Filadelfo Aleman in Managua, Nicaragua, and Richard Jacobsen in Mexico City also contributed to this report.

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This is so sad.

Food for thought while we're all congratulating ourselves on having escaped Felix.

Unfortunately it looks as if these storms are going to increase in frequency and intensity, so it's questionable whether simple replacement rebuilding should be allowed in low-lying coastal areas. There comes a time when you have to recognise that an area has become too dangerous to live in. Lots of enormous social questions come to mind, of course.

Joined: Sep 2007
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After reading all these comments I am concerned at investing in AC which I had deposited on a pre-constructed casita. Not sure now if it is safe to retire and live there? Too late to back out now.

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Where in the world is 100% safe? You live in California now . . . wildfires, mudslides, earthquakes, etc. At least with hurricanes, you have ample time to prepare and evacuate. Plus, you'll be in a wonderful place with wonderful people. Be happy!! grin

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I am sure it is safer to live on Ambergris Caye than in any city in the US. The chance of being run over by a car in the US is much greater than dieing in a Hurricane here. Sort of the same with flying: After a plane crash people get nervous about flying, although more people die from donkey related accidents than from plane crashes.

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