Letter: Nicaraguan plight

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The media seems to have deserted Nicaragua. Is this because President Alemn claims there is no need to declare a state of emergency, and can even turn away medical aid, when it comes from communist Cuba ("Slowly, a future emerges from sea of mud", 13 November)?

Is it because the eloquent pleas of the Nicaraguan ambassador in London have fallen silent? So everything's all right, then?

No, it is not. As a group, we have family, friends, colleagues in five different areas of Nicaragua, all devastated by Hurricane Mitch. They tell of local fields drowned in water or buried by landslides; peasants rebuilding their lives on mud full of decomposing bodies; 720 Indians whose SOS from the overflowing river Coco was picked up by British aircraft carriers, but who had disappeared when the helicopters flew over.

These accounts flesh out the wider statistics - economic activity in half the country wiped out; 70 per cent of the national infrastructure destroyed.

Let's not be put off by silly politicians' pride. Nicaragua's disaster is not over. All the hurricane-hit countries need our attention. Aid should, and must, get to them all, fairly channelled and distributed by the charities of the Disaster Emergency Committee.