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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Hurricane aid reaches Nicaragua
People stand among the ruins of their home in Puerto Cabezas on Nicaragua's coast
It is a huge task to get aid to Nicaragua's worst-hit areas
International aid has started arriving in Nicaragua, where at least 40 people are now known to have been killed by Hurricane Felix.

Dozens more people are missing and rescuers are searching the wreckage of villages and homes for more victims.

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless by the category five hurricane.

But 52 Miskito Indians have been washed ashore alive in neighbouring Honduras, government officials said.

They had been swept off a tiny island and survived the storm by clinging to planks and lifebuoys.

Fishing communities of Miskito Indians live on island reefs along the Honduran-Nicaraguan border.

Emergency aid

"We think there are many more people floating in the sea," Congresswoman Carolina Echeverrria said in Honduras after authorities rescued the Miskitos, some of whom were taken to hospital to be treated for exposure.

People are out in the open, they have lost everything
Nancy Enriquez
Local mayor

"They were holding onto planks and buoys for hours," she said.

In Nicaragua, emergency aid has been airlifted into Puerto Cabezas, the regional capital of the worst-hit area, but food and fuel remain scarce.

"People are out in the open - they have lost everything. Children are exposed to the rain," Nancy Enriquez, mayor of the coastal community of Bilwi, told AFP news agency.

The authorities say many of those affected live in some of the country's most remote and impoverished jungle areas, making the delivery of aid even more difficult.

The World Food Programme has sent nearly five tonnes of food aid, with aid also arriving from neighbouring countries and from as far away as Japan.

The national disaster authority says it fears the number of dead could rise further in the coming days.

Correspondents say the storm has revived memories throughout Central America of Hurricane Mitch, which killed some 10,000 people in 1998.

Meanwhile Tropical Storm Henriette killed at least nine people in Mexico before dissipating.

Hundreds were evacuated as Henriette - then at hurricane strength - hit Mexico's western Sonora state with winds of up to 120km/h (75mph), a day after lashing Baja California.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Henriette to a tropical storm on Wednesday.


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SEE ALSO
Nicaragua storm death toll rises
06 Sep 07 |  Americas
Felix slams into Central America
04 Sep 07 |  Americas
Hurricane churns up the Caribbean
19 Aug 07 |  Americas
Dean continues to batter Mexico
24 Aug 07 |  Americas
Felix surges to maximum strength
03 Sep 07 |  Americas

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