Tuesday, November 10, 1998 Published at 01:36 GMT
Nothing left but their lives
Nacaome's only bridge was destroyed
The town of Nacaome in southern Honduras was taken completely by surprise by the floods.
Survivors have told BBC correspondent Philippa Thomas - the first journalist to visit the town - that they have been left with nothing but their lives.
Houses that took years to build came down in an hour as the flood waters swept through.
Padre Marcel Donne said it was the biggest tragedy in living memory. "Some are thinking it is a punishment from God," he said.
Many in the town feel isolated, with relief organisations taking so long to get their operations started.
Regional authorities have begun to calculate the damage, but have no idea at this stage how many are dead or are still stranded in the remoter areas.
Another BBC journalist, George Eykyn, found village after village along Nicaragua's largest river either swamped or swept away.
Along the Rio Coco
Travelling from the regional centre of Waspan, he met communities of indigenous Indians which had seen no aid, nor relief teams.
Bare stumps in a sea of glutinous mud were all that remained of the village of San Alberto.
Many had gone inland to makeshift camps. However food was running out and water used for cooking had been contaminated with dead animals.
Unless help arrives, then once the remaining animals are killed and eaten, there is no more food for the survivors from San Alberto.
A helicopter from British warship HMS Sheffield has been to Waspan to assess the situation.
With Nicaragua's own resources stretched so thin, the hopes of survivors along the Rio Coco may well depend on the British.