Reports from Swindon twin town Ocotal indicate it has withstood the hurricane which has left a trail of devastation in Nicaragua.
Only two weeks prior, the equally violent Hurricane Eta tore through Central America.
“We are safe and well,” reported Dr Jorje Calderón from Ocotal. “Our people took refuge, the roads and rivers withstood the rains!”
He reported that 13 hurricanes had struck Central America this season; Iota and Eta were two of six major hurricanes and three more are predicted to arrive soon.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated much of Nicaragua. The people of Swindon responded by sending £27,000 and seven tons of aid on RAF Lyneham’s Hercules aircraft – an effort which, according to the Swindon Ocotal Link association, has cemented the name Swindon into the hearts of Ocotal’s population.
Another response from Swindon Ocotal Link association, in the wake of Hurricane Mitch’s destruction, was to enable two Halcrow engineers to conduct a study of water supply and infrastructure.
That study assisted the successful request for EU funding which invested in water supply, river and road infrastructure. These improvements are now keeping people safe.
“Our farmers have suffered loss of crops and our older people need help,” said Dr Calderón. “Funds from Swindon Ocotal Link association are being used to assist our much-loved old people’s homes (Casa de Ancianos).
“Thank you Swindon for your thoughts and love, we are ok!”