APEC leaders set goals on climate change; protesters march in Sydney
|Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, center, stands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, third from right, and other APEC leaders during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group photo session at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney. Others from left: Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Arroyo, Putin, Thailand's Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and George W. Bush. AP
BILWI, Nicaragua, Saturday (AFP) - Thousands of residents of Nicaragua and Honduras sought aid today in the wake of Hurricane Felix, while rescuers expressed fears that the death toll of at least 100 would surely rise.
Mixed reports of the full extent of the damage wrought by Felix, which whipped the two Central American countries mid-week, filtered out as authorities attempted to reach isolated communities that had been in its path.
The United Nations representative in Nicaragua, Alfredo Missar, said late yesterday that some 100,000 people lived in the area affected by the hurricane.
Meanwhile, crews from two US helicopters assisting in the rescue effort on Friday reported seeing bodies floating in the Caribbean, fueling fears that the death toll would rise.Hurricane Felix reached the highest possible category five on the Saffir-Simpson scale when it struck the region on Tuesday.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, on a second tour of the area bordering with Honduras, said that of the 52 affected communities “absolutely nothing” is known of 11, and at least 27 are isolated.
“Those who disappeared on the high seas could be in the hundreds,” said regional governor Reynaldo Francis.
He added that another 50 or so were trapped in the tropical forest. During several over flights of Nicaragua's coastline “many bodies were spotted floating near Cabo Gracias a Dios,” said the US military representative in Managua, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Gaddis. He added that Nicaragua's military had been appraised of their location.