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Withering Drought Hurting Farmers, Fish Industry in Nicaragua

LADB Article ID: 79983
Category/Department: Nicaragua
Date: 2016-05-19
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

Banana growers in the southwestern department of Rivas say they’ve lost 70% of their yield. Around Lake Cocibolca, Central America’s largest lake, fishers complain of dwindling catches and longer days spent on their boats, which have become harder to maneuver as the shoreline recedes. Elsewhere in the country, some riverbeds have dried out completely. There is even talk that the prolonged rain deficit might have something to do with a recent rash of deaths of howler monkeys. Across Nicaragua—and in much of the rest of Central America—people are praying for rain to end a drought that has stretched on for three years and impacted lives in myriad ways (NotiCen, Sept. 18, 2014). The dry-weather pattern is the result, say scientists, of a Pacific Ocean warming phenomenon called El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The government, led by President Daniel Ortega of the leftist Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN), has not declared an official state of emergency. Nor has it offered much in the way of definitive data. The problem is nevertheless a very real one, with clear and costly repercussions, most notably for people living in the so-called “dry corridor,” in western Nicaragua.

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