Memories of the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch is still present in the people living in the community of La Vigía Sur, Quilalí, Nueva Segovia. "On Friday (October 14), when water level of the river began to rise, we took refuge on nearby hills, because since Hurricane Mitch, we are afraid of heavy rains," says Diego Rocha about the Coco River. Back at his house, Diego took stock of his lost harvest: corn, beans, and banana. He was also left without potable water because the air pipe that carries water to the community was ripped off by the current.
Don Diego lives in La Vigía Sur. Together with members of the Potable Water Committee and the Mayor of Quilalí, Marvin Herrera Corrales, they welcomed the USAID-funded Municipal Governance Program emergency response team, who traveled to the community to assess damages.
The Municipal Governance Program, with the approval of the Mission Disaster Relief Officer (MDRO) at USAID/Nicaragua, activated the Emergency Response Fund when the Nicaraguan government declared a state of national calamity on October 17. Since that time, the program performed a quick assessment in partner municipalities. Of the 17 partner municipalities, only Quilalí reported damage and requested support to the Program.
The communities of La Vigía Sur, Waná y Caulatú were left without water service due to the flooding of the Coco River. The water level of the river rose 50 meters, flooding the pumps that supply water to Waná and Caulatú.
Ten days after the story told by Diego, his community had restored water service and materials were provided to raise the foundations to hold the pipe and prevent future damage from flooding. In the communities of Caulatú and Waná, a team of technical specialists installed the pumps on November 11 and 12.
Francis Herrera, president of the Safe Drinking Water Committee of Caulatú said with relief what it meant for 1200 people in her community to have water service restored. "Eight days ago we received the pumps; they are already running; before we had to walk a lot and even catch buses to fetch water," she said. Francis felt satisfied and grateful for the response given by the Mayor of Quilalí and the Program.
CHF International is working in Nicaragua through the USAID-funded Municipal Governance Program (MGP), which will strengthen municipal governance and citizen involvement, empowering them and bettering their quality of life. By improving basic service delivery, MGP will help local governments be more responsive to their citizens and develop citizen’s positive perception of their leadership. Ultimately, MGP will build responsive, accountable local governments throughout Nicaragua and support an engaged, active citizenry to result in a better quality of life for all.