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Cablegate: Managua Sitrep 4: Wide Media Coverage As U.S.

VZCZCXRO1669
OO RUEHLMC
DE RUEHMU #2059/01 2502323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 072323Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1220
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 4711
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0113
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0074
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA IMMEDIATE 0334
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 002059

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 4: WIDE MEDIA COVERAGE AS U.S.
DISTRIBUTION OPERATIONS COMMENCE

REF: A. MANAGUA 2044
B. MANAGUA 2032
C. MANAGUA 2026 (NOTAL)
D. MANAGUA 2025 (NOTAL)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Our plan to distribute relief supplies
outward from Puerto Cabezas went into effect this morning.
We began moving supplies to Sandy Bay and the surrounding
area. As of late afternoon, we had also transported 25,000
lbs of supplies from Managua to Puerto Cabezas with JTF-B
helicopters. Air assets from the USS Wasp also assisted with
medical evacuation of several severely injured Nicaraguans.
Total USG disaster relief, not including the value of DOD
assets, is in excess of USD 1 million. Distribution
operations will continue through the weekend. Media coverage
of U.S. relief efforts has been extensive and substantial by
local and international outlets. The Ambassador plans to
visit Puerto Cabezas on Saturday, assist with relief efforts
and meet with Amcits in the affected area. This will be our
final SITREP for this week. END SUMMARY.

CURRENT SITUATION
-----------------

2. (U) AFFECTED PERSONS: The Nicaraguan Government's official
numbers are as follows: Total Affected Population: 100,000;
Confirmed dead: 39; Confirmed Missing: 105; Total Damages
Houses: 9,948, of which 7,945 were completely destroyed.

3. (SBU) AERIAL OBSERVATIONS: No assessment flights were
done today along the north-south road below Waspam down to
Santa Maria and Sisin. This is the one remaining area over
which we have not done assessment flights.

USG PLANNING AND RESPONSE
-------------------------

4. (U) On September 7 in the early morning, the initial
distribution of relief supplies commenced in Sandy Bay and
surrounding affected communities via USS WASP helicopters. A
second relief flight departed Miami for Puerto Cabezas
transporting 120 rolls of plastic sheeting, 1,500 wool
blankets, and 1,536 hygiene kits. The USAID/OFDA Military
Liaison Officer in Nicaragua deployed to Puerto Cabezas to
assist in the distribution of relief commodities. A
USAID/OFDA consultant will be arriving from Honduras to
assist at the Managua airport with the prioritization of
relief supplies for loading on U.S. military helicopters to
Puerto Cabezas. SINAPRED is coordinating this distribution
with USAID and U.S. military officials. The USAID/OFDA field
team and the Nicaraguan Red Cross (NRC) staff deployed to
Auastara, Dakura, Pahra, and Sandy Bay communities in
anticipation of the arrival of relief commodities to
coordinate efforts with local authorities, DOD officials, and
non-governmental organizations. The distribution was
coordinated as follows:

--Auastara: 23 rolls of plastic sheeting, 245 hygiene kits,
and 232 wool blankets.
--Dakura: 23 rolls of plastic sheeting, 245 hygiene kits, and
240 wool blankets.
--Pahra: 23 rolls of plastic sheeting, 245 hygiene kits, and
234 wool blankets.
--Sandy Bay: 51 rolls of plastic sheeting, 800 hygiene kits,
and 800 wool blankets.

5. (U) The first relief supply distribution brings the total
USG contribution to Nicaragua for Hurricane Felix to over
$1,000,000, with USAID/OFDA's share at approximately $275,000
to date. To date, USAID/OFDA is distributing a total of 240
rolls of plastic sheeting, 3,000 wool blankets, and 3,072
hygiene kits. USAID/OFDA is sending an additional 400 rolls
of plastic sheeting, tentatively scheduled to arrive on
September 8. We are working with country partners to deliver
the most critical needs. A $50,000 grant was signed today
with NRC. We anticipate an additional $77,800 in grants to
be signed later today. USAID is working quickly to identify
immediate needs of hurricane-affected populations in
conjunction with its partners to assist in the relief efforts.

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

6. (U) The Ambassador spoke with Managua media--TV channels
2, 12 and 63; newspapers La Prensa, El Nuevo Diario and HOY;
and Radio Nicaragua, Radio Maranatha, and other independent
radio stations. His message included the following points,
which were reiterated in our daily press release that went
this afternoon. His interview was immediately put in our
Embassy News Service (that we provide to 30 radios stations
around the country). (Each department has at least two radio
stations affiliated with this news service).

-- Two U.S. CH-47 helicopters from Soto Cano, Honduras, have
assisted in carrying to Puerto Cabezas several Nicaraguan
military and police personnel, as well as U.S. officials to
make damage assessments and prepare for the receipt and
onward distribution of relief supplies.
-- The US Government has also sent one C-12 airplane U.S. and
Nicaraguan army personnel to assist with mapping the disaster
zone, collect images of the area and help develop the
emergency response plan.
-- The US Southern Command redirected the USS Wasp, which was
participating in international military exercises in Panama.
The USS Wasp has six helicopters that are being used to
provide relief and assistance to the people of Nicaragua.
-- This U.S. military support is in addition to the efforts
personnel from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance
(OFDA). OFDA is preparing to send from its warehouse in Miami
humanitarian assistance to Nicaragua. Using a leased airplane
they sent Thursday to Puerto Cabezas the first delivery with
plastic sheeting, blankets and hygiene kits. Another airplane
will arrive Friday with additional donations. Additionally,
the OFDA had delivered $175,000 USD in assistance, and the
Nicaraguan Red Cross is now distributing $45,000 of pre
donation support that was already positioned in the Caribbean
Coast.

7. (U) One final note, in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaraguan
President Ortega spoke for several minutes to the crew of the
CH-47 Chinook that arrived there. The encounter was covered
by all the national and international press (print, radio and
TV) currently in Puerto Cabezas. There was at least 30
minutes of coverage on Nicaraguan channels 63, 2, 8, 11, 10.
Cable News Channel 100 news continued broadcasting the
footage throughout the day.

LOOKING AHEAD
-------------

8. (SBU) Looking forward into the weekend we anticipate
distribution operations to continue. USAID/OFDA expects two
additional supply flights from the U.S. carrying 400
additional rolls of plastic, as well as blankets. There will
be an additional donation of USD 300K towards the UN's USD
1.3 million flash appeal request. Finally we expect that two
of our international NGO partners will begin distributing a
total of nearly 51 metric tons of food, procured under the
PL-480 process, to resident in affected areas of Waspam and
its environs.
TRIVELLI

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