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Cablegate: Managua Sitrep 2: Hurricane Felix Aftermath,

VZCZCXRO9193
OO RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #2032/01 2490122
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 060122Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1175
RUMIAAA/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO IMMEDIATE 4705
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0107
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0068
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 0328
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MANAGUA 002032

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CEN FEELEY AND LERSTEN
DEPT ALSO FOR WHA/FO AND CA/OCS
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USAID/W, USAID/DCHA AND USAID/OFDA
USAID/W FOR A/AID HFORE
USAID/OFDA FOR KLUU, AFERRERA, ACONVERY, RTHAYER, AND
SBISWAS
USAID/DCHA FOR MHESS AND GGOTTLIEB
SOUTHCOM PLEASE PASS TO JTF-BRAVO
SOUTHCOM FOR SCJ3--LTC ALEXANDER
NSC FOR ALVARADO AND TSHORTLEY
SAN JOSE FOR OFDA SENIOR REGIONAL ADVISOR
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
USUN ROME FOR RNEWBERG
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER
ROME PLEASE PASS TO USUN ROME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV MOPS AEMR KPAO CASC NU
SUBJECT: MANAGUA SITREP 2: HURRICANE FELIX AFTERMATH,
INITIAL DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS

REF: A. MANAGUA 2026 (NOTAL)

B. MANAGUA 2025 (NOTAL)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Today we were able to make our first on-the-ground assessment of damage to Puerto Cabezas. Lack of potable water and adequate shelter are the most severe problems. Structural damage in Puerto Cabezas is extensive, but was mostly to building roofs; aside from a hospital, few structures were completely destroyed. Clean up work removing trees and downed power lines has already begun. The airport is open for daylight operations and international relief flights have already begun; however, refueling is not possible at this time. The pier in Puerto Cabezas is severely damaged, but pier's pipelines remain intact. There are still persistent (but as yet unconfirmed by us) reports of extreme damage to communities of Sandy Bay (total destruction), Bonanza, and Waspam. We plan to do aerial assessments on Thursday. We have already begun to implement our relief assistance plan. We anticipate that the first U.S. relief flights will arrive in Puerto Cabezas tomorrow from Miami. We are also working closely with local and international NGO partners, as well as with the U.S. and Nicaraguan militaries to facilitate the onward distribution of relief supplies as shipments arrive in country. Today there were no new reports of Amcits in distress. Public Affairs activities included interviews by Embassy personnel with local media and facilitating the filming, by Nicaraguan media, of the arrival of U.S. CH-47 in Managua earlier today. END SUMMARY.

STORM DAMAGE ASSESSMENT: BAD IN PUERTO CABEZAS, MAY BE WORSE IN MORE REMOTE LOCATIONS
-----------------------

2. (SBU) Our first assessment team arrived in Puerto Cabezas this afternoon via Nicaraguan milair and was able to see much of the city and talk with representatives of the City and of local Red Cross. They report that the most pressing needs are for potable water and adequate shelter. Structural damage in the city is widespread, primarily to roofs, though very few structures were totally destroyed. One hospital that sustained major structural damage had been evacuated. Clean up efforts have already begun with citizenry clearing away uprooted trees, downed power poles and electrical and phone lines. Our team reports that the airport is open with the following limitations: daylight operations only, there are no runway lights; the tower is still operational, but the antenna is gone; airport fuel storage tanks are intact, but refueling is not possible at this time. The Nicaraguan military is currently flying MI-17s and AN-26s in and out of the airfield. International relief flights have already begun arriving in the city. A Honduran C-130 arrived while our team was at the airfield. The pier at Puerto Cabezas has been severely damaged, a large section is missing; however, the pipelines are still intact. Our team indicates that small ships could still use the pier. If needed, a landing ship could use the beach as well.

3. (SBU) There are still persistent reports of extreme damage to communities outside the immediate vicinity of Puerto Cabezas, particularly in Sandy Bay (perhaps totally destroyed), Bonanza and Waspam. Our team plans to do aerial assessments on Thursday. DAO has also arranged for C-12 support tomorrow to overfly several remote and isolated locations, many of which are normally only accessible via boat and are of particular concern to the Nicaraguan government.

ACS: NO NEW INFORMATION
-----------------------

4. (SBU) Today the Consular Section did not receive any new
inquiries or reports about Amcits in distress. All known
Amcits are safe and accounted for.

EMBASSY PLANNING AND RESPONSE
-----------------------------

5. (SBU) The Embassy Hurricane Working Group met this
afternoon. We participated in two Washington-organized
teleconferences again today. We have begun to implement our
disaster relief response plan. USAID is securing commercial
airlift for relief supplies and we expect the first flights
to arrive tomorrow directly to Puerto Cabezas from Miami.
These supplies will be transported directly to Puerto Cabezas
and we are working closely with local and international NGO
partners, as well as with the U.S. and Nicaraguan militaries
to facilitate the rapid, onward distribution of relief
supplies as shipments arrive in country. The following
commodities have been identified for delivery:

-- Plastic Sheeting: 200 rolls (for 1200 to 2000 families)
-- Family Hygiene Kits: 3072 (sufficient for a family of five
for two weeks)
-- Wool Blankets: 3000 (2 per family for 1500 families)

In addition to our assessment team deployment today, our
other activities included the following:

-- The USAID/OFDA Team Leader met today with Pan American
Health Organization (PAHO) to discuss humanitarian assistance
coordination.
-- We met with representatives from some European Embassies
as well as from the EU Mission and UN Agencies to coordinate
our relief efforts.
-- A four-member USAID/OFDA team will deploy to the affected
area on Thursday to conduct additional damage and needs
assessments.
-- We are providing an additional USD 150,000 to support
relief efforts, bringing our current total to USD 175,000.

We will continue our field assessments, providing additional
information about damage, needs, and impact of the disaster
as it becomes available.

PUBLIC DIPLOMACY OUTREACH
-------------------------

6. (U) The Embassy press release of yesterday was used by all
major media today. Public Affairs filmed the arrival of the
U.S. CH-47 this afternoon in Managua and distributed footage
to media. PAS arranged for National TV Channel 2 and La
Prensa newspaper (center-right circ. 40,000) to film the
same. Press guidance was updated and distributed to country
team and USAID/OFDA TDY team late this afternoon. One of our
assessment team members was interviewed by local media in
Puerto Cabezas.

7. (SBU) One final note, President Ortega visited Puerto
Cabezas today and held a news conference during the day. Our
assessment team reported that as Ortega was boarding his
aircraft to return to Managua, the U.S. CH-47 arrived at the
airfield. All media at the scene cut away from the President
and panned their cameras over to shoot footage of the CH-47
as it landed.
TRIVELLI

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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