Preparedness Gets You Through
Yes, it was horrible. Frightening. Dangerous. Devastating. But they had community action plans for a variety of disaster scenarios, that’s how they got through the hurricane, and that’s why they continue to have hope.
Pastor José’s community consists of 216 people, 64 families in 62 homes just 31 miles from the capital city of Managua. The Casares river runs right through the middle of it. The area is always vulnerable to flooding due to rising water from other rivers and springs that feed the Casares. Hurricanes only increase the risk.
Don José says that Hurricane Julia in October of 2022 was the worst disaster since 1998’s Mitch. “This storm destroyed latrines and wells and contaminated the water. We also lost corn crops, beans, sorghum, and some vegetables. It has impoverished us even more. Basic products are more expensive, and agricultural input prices have shot way up.”
The day the hurricane hit was extremely stressful. People were shocked to see their homes flooded, says Don José. “They had fear, a feeling of helplessness, despair, and uncertainty. What to do? You were waist-deep in water, and your neighbors were in the same condition.”
However, the community knew what to do in case of flooding. They’d outlined where folks should go, and who was responsible for alerting them to the need to evacuate, organizing shelters, recognizing danger zones, and being ready to respond to emergencies. In this case, a local church offered shelter.
Don José points out that training from local partner CIEETS (Centro Inter Eclesial de Estudios Teológicos y Sociales) is also helping the community overcome such adversity by improving agricultural practices and food production. More sustainable techniques for growing not only corn and beans but diversifying farms with vegetables, fruit trees, and animals gives them other options should one crop fail or be destroyed by natural disasters.
“We feel optimistic that we will achieve food security through diversification, planning and caring for each other. Our community management plan addresses the risks and threats we face most frequently. Preparedness is a powerful tool.”
Nicaragua Carazo Diriamba Program
Led by Church World Service and Local Partner CIEETS (Centro Inter Eclesial de Estudios Teológicos y Sociales)