From the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program via the Rainforest Foundation, Sept. 7:
On September 4, 2007, Hurricane Felix hit land on the Northeast Coast of Nicaragua as a level 5 hurricane. Initial reports have told the story of the eye of the hurricane passing directly over Awas Tingni, resulting in complete devastation of all the homes in the community, as well as destruction of all nearby crops and transport routes. Rains have continued since the hurricane hit, causing floods and ongoing dangerous conditions in the entire region.
As many of you know, Awas Tingni is a Mayangna (Sumo) indigenous community located on the Atlantic Coast in Nicaragua. The community is best known internationally for the landmark case decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Mayagna (Sumo) Community of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua, where after a long legal battle, the community successfully gained legal recognition of its customary land tenure.
The Awas Tingni community is located in a densely forested area. Homes in the village are primarily single rooms covered in thatch or tin, transport is primarily by canoe, and many of the family members are sustained by food grown on their family and community owned and maintained plots. As members of the legal team that has worked and lived alongside this community for over 12 years to facilitate their struggle to maintain control of their land rights, we are now faced with a call to help our friends in Awas Tingni to survive this natural disaster…
Funds to Rebuild
We are collecting financial contributions that will be used to rebuild the community. We will work with the community leaders and local relief organizations to assess whether the funds would be best distributed immediately or saved for future rebuilding efforts. Immediate needs will include basic food, shelter, and medical needs. Later, in addition to reconstructing their homes and crops, the community will need to rebuild its school, health center, and other communal gathering places. Any amount of financial contribution will be appreciated, and used solely for rebuilding efforts in Awas Tingni. Your contributions will be tax deductible, and you will receive a written receipt for your contribution. Donations may be made through the Rainforest Foundation-U.S., which is a partner of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program and has been supporting the Awas Tingni community directly in its effort to protect its lands and environment.
Please make checks payable to the Rainforest Foundation, earmarked for Awas Tingni and send by mail to:
Rainforest Foundation US
32 Broadway, #1614
New York, NY 10004
Or make a contribution securely online through PayPal at the Rainforest Foundation US website: www.rainforestfoundation.org