*NEWS*RAT PLAGUE LEADS TO HUNGER FEARS

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*NEWS*RAT PLAGUE LEADS TO HUNGER FEARS

 user 2005-10-29 at 10:11:00 am Views: 71
  • #14426

    Rat plague leads to hunger fears
    Up to 40,000 people are facing hunger in northern Nicaragua because rats have devoured their crops, officials say.
    The plague has affected Miskito Indian communities which live by the Rio Coco river on the country’s Caribbean coast.
    Last
    week, the area – which is also regularly hit by flooding – was declared
    a disaster area, but the rats have yet to be exterminated.
    A UN team has visited the area to see how much aid is needed. Nicaragua is one of the world’s poorest countries.
    The UN mission is due to release its findings in the capital, Managua, on Friday after talks with donors and aid groups.
    Border problem
    A
    spokesman for the Nicaragua’s National Disaster Prevention System
    (Sinapred) said most of those affected by the food shortages were
    adults.
    Children, he said, had been receiving meals through a regular UN-backed programme.
    Juan Rodriguez told BBC News that the Miskito communities would need food aid for at least five months.
    Sinapred
    is asking for $1.5m to deal with the emergency in the Waspam
    municipality, which is in an autonomous region that has long suffered
    from a lack of development and basic services.
    The Miskito Indians
    have traditionally planted some of their crops across the border, in
    Honduras. But, according to Mr Rodriguez, they were prevented from
    doing so this year by some Honduran mayors.
    He says that this led
    some of the local farmers to clear some forest areas for their crops -
    the fires are said to have driven the rats toward established crops.
    On Wednesday, 180kg of rat poison was sent to the region to be placed in local houses.