WCU program raises funds for Hurricane Felix victims

Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines is organizing a fundraising drive for relief efforts on the coast of Nicaragua, devastated by Hurricane Felix, a Category 5 storm that swept ashore Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Funds collected by PSDS, the internationally known center integrating coastal science and management housed at Western, will be delivered to one of the program’s partners on site in Central America as part of ongoing hurricane reconnaissance activities there. The funds will go directly to a rebuilding project to be supervised by PSDS, said program director Rob Young, professor of geosciences and natural resources management at WCU.

Young and other coastal scientists affiliated with the program have been working in Central America since 1995, successfully implementing a rebuilt municipal water system for a small, indigenous community on the northern coast of Honduras following Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

“This has been a difficult hurricane season for the poor of Mexico and Central America. For the first time since records have been kept, two Category 5 hurricanes have made landfall in the same season. Sadly, both hurricanes impacted areas made up largely of indigenous people with extremely vulnerable infrastructure,” Young said. “The national media has already largely lost interest because the United States was not impacted, and major tourist areas such as Cancun also escaped with minor damage. Make no mistake – Felix was a major disaster for the poor of Nicaragua.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can send it to: The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Room 294 Belk Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, N.C., 28723; or call (828) 227-3822.