A. Situation Analysis
Description of the Disaster
On 7 November 2021, general elections were held across 153 municipalities in Nicaragua, electing Daniel Ortega Saavedra as President, Rosario Murillo Zambrana as Vice President, and 91 members of the National Assembly, and 20 members of the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN). The Supreme Electoral Council ratified the election on 26 November 2021 per the electoral calendar. Voter turnout for these elections was 65.26 per cent – a total of 2,921,430 votes (2,759,743 valid votes and 161,687 invalid votes).
In parallel, the OAS General Assembly in Guatemala voted in favour of a resolution stating that the Nicaraguan elections lack democratic legitimacy and ordered its Permanent Council to conduct a “collective assessment” of the situation in Nicaragua. Its conclusions, submitted on 30 November, highlighted the irregularities in the electoral process, which have aggravated socio-political tensions and led to misinformation among the Nicaraguan population stemming from the abundance of information on social networks.
The electoral scenario from April to November 2021 included the detention of presidential candidates and government opponents. Some 46 people were arrested, including seven presidential candidates, and the legal personality of several political parties was revoked, leaving only old-time traditional parties such as Camino Cristiano, Partido Liberal Constitucionalista, Alianza Liberal, and the government’s party Frente Sandinista in the race. Furthermore, any citizen who voices different opinions or participated in the 2018 protests is harassed in several ways, putting their safety and that of their family at risk.
The government party’s ads were the most visible, and citizens had no open expression regarding the results. The socio-political crisis continues in the country, causing unemployment and mass migration of Nicaraguan citizens to the US, Costa Rica, Spain, and Panama, among others.
The second wave of COVID-19 hit Nicaragua from August to November 2021, this time the Delta variant, causing more deaths. The national observatory reports 31,505 cases and 5,973 deaths, while the Ministry of Health reports 13,589 cases and 217 deaths since the pandemic’s beginning. Following the emergence of the Omicron variant in South Africa in November 2021, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) confirmed cases of Omicron in Nicaragua in late January, becoming one more threat to the health and lives of Nicaraguans. Regardless, the existence of variants generates uncertainty and threatens Nicaraguan families’ financial and social stability.
Therefore, on 3 September 2021, an implementation strategy for the use of Anticipatory DREF funds was launched to support the National Society in:
• COVID-19 procurement and delivery planning sessions.
• Sharing of a Safer Access strategy and handbook.
• Prepositioning of essential humanitarian items and readiness by branches.
• Volunteer training: Safer access workshops, PSS trainings, and others.