International rescue teams are ferrying more aid to flood victims to northern Honduras. The effort?
International rescue teams are ferrying more aid to flood victims to northern Honduras. The effort is being spearheaded by American teams from the Panama Canal Zone and British ones form the nearby colony of Belize. Aircraft and assault boats are carrying medical teams and food supplies into remote areas where the floods are only now beginning to recede.
The mouth of the Sula Valley, where rich farmlands lay a week ago, is now a sea of mud. In some remote areas, thousands of people have been marooned for days without food or water. The small country town of Choloma has ben hardest hit and bodies of people killed by hurricane won are being burned in open graves.
Although damage and suffering have been severe in Honduras, there is still a lot of confusion about the exact casualty figures. American relief officials have publicly contradicted the claims of the Honduran Emergency Committee which had reported nearly 9,000 people feared dead and 350,000 homeless. The American figure is much smaller.
Whatever the figures, the disaster is a very serious one for such a poor country. Much of Honduras' road and rail network has been destroyed and the loss of its principal export crops -- bananas and meat -- means that Honduras faces economic collapse.
SYNOPSIS: International rescue teams are ferrying more aid to flood victims in northern Honduras. The effort is being spearheaded by American teams from the Panama Canal Zone and British ones from the nearby colony of Belize. Cuba has sent a field hospital and many international organisations such as the Red Cross and World Food Programme are helping the refugees. Many people living in remote areas are still short of food and drinking water, as assault boats have not been able to reach them through a sea of mud.
The only way to get supplies through to the marooned survivors is by air, but even so the massive influx of food and supplies is not getting through fast enough to the survivors of hurricane Fifi. Some people have already died from starvation.
Although the damage and suffering are so severe in Honduras, no one seems to know the true casualty figures. American relief officials have publicly contradicted the claims of the Honduran Emergency Committee which had originally reported a figure of nine thousand people feared dead and three hundred and fifty thousand homeless. The American figure is much lower.
Whatever the true figure, the disaster is a real one for Honduras, already the poorest country on the American mainland. Its road and rail network has been destroyed nd the country faces total economic collapse.
The little country town of Choloma, with a population of seven thousand was the hardest hit by hurricane Fifi which forced the Cholma River to burst its banks and sweep away al in its path. The township is still without light or water, although engineers are trying to restore vital services. The town's only supermarket has been looted, but an even greater loss was the destruction of corn, rice, beans and other subsistence crops.
The burning of the dead is a grim necessity to stop the spread of epidemics...Government sources say that over a third of the town's 6population are dead....
Relief supplies have now arrived at Choloma and are being distributed in an organised way. The starving, sick and destitute are now being taken care of.
Even though the distribution system has been improved, the Honduran flood victims will need help for a long time to come. U.S. Ambassador Phillip Sanchez has said that one hundred thousand people need long-term outside help.