In October, 1988 Hurricane Joan ravaged the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. She left in her wake more than 200,000 acres of flattened forests and human settlements. Com Island, 40 miles east of the coastal city of Bluefields, was among the hardest hit. Joan whipped up winds over 170 miles per hour and battered parts of the island with a storm surge that rose over 80 feet. Over 95% of the trees on the island were felled or snapped off. At the request of the Nicaraguan govemment, Greenpeace recently sponsored a team of American and Nicaraguan restoration ecologists and marine biologists to inspect the damage and recommend a strategy for recovery. Town meetings to discuss the needs of island residents were held. As part of this effort a women's group wants to build a community center. The center will include facilities for a sewing group, and an ecology museum to edúcate residents about rebuilding in environmentally sound ways. To support their efforts contact Reed Beaman at (813) 351-3012 or Paul Stark at (313) 271-1643.
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