Nicaragua: International Workers´ Day
Santiago Tablada, WFP Logistics Assistant, takes a moment to rest after the exhausting work of urgently delivering food by air to North Atlantic´s indigenous communities in the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast, days after the passage of Hurricane Felix that struck the region with winds of 260 kilometers per hour. This May 1st, International Workers' Day, Tablada symbolizes the mystique of all the humanitarian workers who put their effort to help those who need it most.
Small holder farmers and family farming produce at least 70% of the food grown in the world. WFP, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and other local partners through the Purchase for Progress (P4P) project promote sustainable farming through the combination of traditional methods and new technologies to improve the quality of crops, reduce losses and prevent environmental degradation. Leonel Rivera, WFP agronomist (right) and Elmer Sarantes, from the Santiago cooperative (left) share information with farmer Amado Sarantes López (centre) on his small plot of corn.
Edgard Velásquez celebrates his "Silver Anniversary": 25 years working as WFP driver. Velásquez, 58, feels satisfied for his contributions to WFP and all Nicaraguan families participating in its projects. At the wheel, Velásquez drives Nicaraguan WFP staff with diligence and safety. He was part of major humanitarian emergency operations, such as Hurricane Mitch (1998) and Hurricane Félix (2007), droughts, earthquakes, floods and the last eruption of Cerro Negro Volcano (image) in 1999 when it spewed out huge clouds of ash and forced thousands to evacuate. "In all these years of work I have never had any car accident," said Velasquez. His coworkers have great respect and admiration for him.
Between 1992 and 2011, Nicaragua ranked third among the countries most affected by natural disasters, according to the Global Climate Risk Index "Germanwatch". Therefore, national authorities, with the support of WFP, are prepared to respond immediately to an emergency. Here WFP Logistics and Risk Management staff walk along with the Mayor of Morrito, Department of Rio San Juan, to assess the risk of flooding by the rising Cocibolca Lake (also known as Lake Nicaragua) and its tributary rivers.
She knows the names of every parent, teacher and student, and knows where each school is located in the wider rural Matagalpa in Nicaragua's coffee region. This great quality allows Liz Maria Ubeda (right) of the Programme Unit to strengthen the link between WFP and the educational community of the School Feeding Programme run by the Ministry of Education. Ubeda walks with WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin (center) and the head of Nicaragua's Food Security, Sovereignty and Nutrition Secretariat, Guillermo González, during Cousin's visit in 2012.
"I like to help in any way I can. I help in the warehouse because I want to make sure that the food is well stored as it is destined for needy people," says Henry López, 51, driver of the WFP Siuna Field Office, located 320 kilometers from Managua, capital of Nicaragua. Eight years ago, when Lopez began to work at WFP he didn´t know anything about operating a warehouse. "But now I have more knowledge. I´ve gotten involved in various tasks to help in different ways," he says while describing that now he knows how to stow and count the bags and take sample to verify quality and pest control. "We all need to take care of food donated by the international community," concludes the WFP staff.
The following photo gallery is a tribute to the world's workers on International Workers' Day (1 May 2013) and also to highlight the humanitarian workers' tireless efforts and spirit to help and bring relief to the people in need.