September 12th, 2007

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New email address

I thought I'd use this venue for a housekeeping task:

I have a new email address:

The old exist yet for a couple of months before vanishing.


Posted by Paul DiFi.

A Disaster Ignored and Unreported

On the Mosquito Coast, people are dying in droves as a result of Hurricane Felix, a tragedy that's been largely unreported. Witness these reports from Robert Izdepski, who has people in the region

"This map shows (which unfortunately I can't reproduce) the heavily populated region that took Felix's best hit. Awastara is 26 miles North of Pto. Cabezas and just South of it is a 50' hill where survivors will be praying for water in the heat. All these villages were just above sea level and could not withstand an 18' tidal surge with 30' waves on top.

All the water wells will be fouled for some time unforseeable. The crops and livestock are gone. The huts are gone. There are only snakes in the trees with the buzzards.

6.56 miles WNW of Kaska is a 60 foot hill of refuge for all these villages. They will be there, waiting for the fouled waters to recede, digging graves or hanging from trees. In several days the flies will take over.
12,000 people lived in this region. Three days from now there will be much death, 100% dysentery, hundreds of bodies and cholora, if not typhoid.
Only US, British, Dutch or even French naval heliocopters could help now. They could walk out as it dries, if they had water.
All who are on these hill tops will likely die. Ortega won't help these people, he'll just put on a talk show of the Red Cross in Washington DC.

Press could help if there was video tomorrow. Perhaps someone would see the video of this desperation. Josh (011-505-443-9550) and Jason ( 011-505-477-5286) have HDV with directorial skills and are in Managua, but have little chance of getting a heliocopter...all the politicians have them for photo ops. in Pto. Cabezas and the price is up 500%.

I'm sure it is just as bad along the Rio Coco. I imagine hundreds of paralyzed divers are dead. I hope that is somehow merciful.

I will continue to send you maps and the high points of refuge and point out obstacles, aids, regional needs, disease hazards, local doctors and whatever you ask, but water is king... I remain willing to consult about logistics or travel anywhere on the Miskito Coast in Nicaragua, or in Honduras, 24 hrs per day. This is a great and silent tragedy; a laisse-faire genocide in the heart of the Miskito Kingdom...home to some of the last free people on earth.

Without a miracle, there is no way to blunt this disaster.

Josh and Jason are going to drive toward Bonanza tomorrow to get some video tape and help with water. In a few days they could fly to Pto. Cabezas and peerhaps journey 25 miles north to this map area, if they had some money. If you want to make a pledge, call me and I'll wire them your promised donation plus my own. We can at least deliver water and document some part of this epic by keeping these fine lads in oil."

Then this:

"We found a 75' ship in Bluefields, full of fuel and water.
The miracle did happen. Josh is at RAMA now, ready to catch the ship in the morning and sail north with clean water, buckets and clorox to purify foul water.
The race for lives is on and our small band of heros has overcome every obstacle so far. One must remember that these are pirate waters they sail into, choked with coral reefs and turbid currents. Still, they have courage, a solid plan and the hand of God.

This is a historic rescue. These men were flocked by media in Managua as the prepared for this quest. TV wil be there in Bluefields to see them off in the morning.
Josh and Jason have 3 hdv cameras, dry bags, sound gear, tripods, etc. We'll be able to share this first look into the eye of Category 5 Felix when they return from this rescue.

Josh was in Big Sandy Bay when he was 14, ten years ago and we'll trust his training was right. We slept on the floor of many a hut there and now we can pay back the hospitality.

That is where I stayed in a five stripe hotel; waking up in the morning with five rows of miskito bites on my back from the cracks in the floor boards!

One more call in the morning, then radio silence until the mission is over.

May all their giants prove to be small. Right now I know that they're shrinking.

Please forward these communiques to others (news TV, blogs, friends, writers, aid organizations, news papers, famous people, reporters, so that this will grow). In this way you have truly helped save an indigenous people. I sent the boys $1,900 today, so they're fine for now."

And this:

"On the morning of September 5th, 24 hrs after Felix struck, our intrepid
>>crew made it to Bluefields and found a willing ship topped off with fresh
>>water. However, the Captain was waiting for a bank wire to buy fuel. The
>>wire might come within 48 hrs. Our boys went about raising money and
>>supplies in town and were able to sail that evening, a truly Herculean
>>On the morning of September 5th, 24 hrs after Felix struck, perhaps 100
>>survivors of the storm's surge were clinging to saltwater mangroves
>>scattered throughout the Miskito Cayes, small islets of vegetation 22-29
>>miles offshore from Big Sandy Bay. These mosquito infested islets ranged
>>diameter from a few yards to a couple miles. All the fishing camps that
>>surrounded the Mangroves were built on reefs with stilt construction. Of
>>course they were completely erased from the sea. Only the mangroves
>>survived, but no man can live inside the mangroves; only snakes, fish,
>>and big, black saltwater mosquitoes.
>>On the morning of September 5th, 24 hrs after Felix struck, I was trying
>>raise fuel money over the phone. I called a successful church and
>>this urgent life and death drama to a secretary. The Pastor was in
>>and could not be disturbed. Could I leave a number and someone would get
>>back to me? I protested that I needed a decision maker right now, but that
>>was impossible. I called back, to no avail. The top man was insulated from
>>outside interruptions and had not quantified it with his gate-keepers:
>>was only one rule to be applied in all circumstances. They did have a lady
>>call in the afternoon, but it was too late.
>>On the morning of September 5th, 24 hrs after Felix struck, injured, dying
>>men clung to the edge of the mangroves throughout the Miskito Cayes. The
>>cursed mosquitoes had survived and tormented the men's faces as they
>>squatted in the salt shallows, moving limply with the sea. The day was
>>warming up. These exhausted men needed water and a miracle. There were dead bodies in the Mangroves and floating on the sea. Sometimes they would twitch as if with life, but it was fish biting at them. The larger spasms would startle the birds to flight: sharks. There was an erie sound like a fog horn snaking through the mangroves, the guttural low sound of man's pain and despair that precedes death; a wail and moan in the mangroves.
>>Our ship was too late to rescue these fishermen, who died of thirst and
>>exposure. In fact, the odds of anyone being alive the following day were
>>bad that the boys reluctantly skipped the Cayes and addressed the
>>emergencies on the mainland. We are waiting for word from Big Sandy Bay..."

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