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New Storm Threatens Central America, UN on Alert

As New Storm Threatens Central America, UN Disaster System Goes on Alert

New York, Oct 27 2005 3:00PM

With tropical storm Beta forecast to strengthen into a hurricane and drench Central America with potentially-flooding rains, the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) system was today put on alert, ready to pre-position a team in Nicaragua should it become necessary.

According to forecasts, the two most affected countries could be Nicaragua and Honduras, with Beta threatening their eastern-coastal areas, the poorest regions in the two countries, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

OCHA's regional office in Panama is monitoring the situation and has contacted the UN Resident Coordinators in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Both Guatemala and El Salvador were severely hit by flooding from Hurricane Stan earlier this month, displacing tens of thousands of people who are now in need of urgent food aid.

Tropical storm Beta follows last week's tropical depression Alpha, which produced heavy rains and flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In Haiti, Alpha caused 13 deaths and localized flooding in the departments of West, South-West and Grande Anse. Although flood waters have begun to recede, some areas remain inaccessible.

ENDS

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