With thick mud inundating much of its fertile land in the wake of the disastrous hurricane which struck Honduras earlier this month, the country faces severe economic difficulties.
GV PAN Tegucigalpa
GV Market area
GV Bananas being unloaded
MV&CU women buying citrus fruits at stall(3 shots)
GV Peasants with produce in market area
GV shacks outside Tegucigalpa
GV&CU women making bread(2 shots) outside
CU Woman preparing tortillas for baking
GV&CU Women digging trench through town (3 shots)
GV street corner in rich suburb
GV rich people's houses and gardens (3 shots)
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Background: With thick mud inundating much of its fertile land in the wake of the disastrous hurricane which struck Honduras earlier this month, the country faces severe economic difficulties.
The banana crop, mainstay of the economy, has been wiped out until 1976. Citrus plantations, which together with bananas make up 90 percent of the country's food crops, are also reported to be badly damaged.
Thousands of head of cattle were drowned in the floods which lashed most fiercely the best agricultural land on the northern Caribbean coastline. The coastal fishing industry has also suffered a heavy blow.
In the days immediately after the hurricane there was widespread hunger among the survivors. Relief supplies and extra aircraft have now arrived and the hundreds and thousands of refugees are totally dependent on these.
Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the world, has almost nothing to fall back on. As well it is caught up in one of the world's steepest inflation spirals. Even before the hurricane inflation had brought the country almost to bankruptcy.
Economic experts predict disaster for Honduras within the next few months. According to them only millions of dollars of foreign aid can stave off the crisis and this is unlikely to eventuate in a world where inflation is forcing every country to tighten its belt.
Prices in Honduras have risen almost fifty percent in twelve months. The staple foods such as maize, banana, rice and beans have all gone up nearly 100 percent while income taxes have risen nearly 150 percent. The average annual wage is a meager 250 dollars. Labourers, like those digging ditches in the capital, Tegucigalpa are paid 1.25 dollars per square metre. Most of them manage one metre a day.
Seventy percent of the three million people who live in honduras are peasants earning a bare subsistence but in the rich suburbs of Tegucigalps there is clear evidence of the profits that have been accrued by the country's business elite. In an attempt to defuse the potentially explosive social situation the Army leaders introduced sweeping economic reforms in February. President Oswaldo Lopez demanded more revenue from the all-powerful American companies which own the banana industry to finance the reforms but the companies bitterly opposed his plans. With much of the banana plantations destroyed, there is now speculation that the foreign companies may not bother to rebuild their investments.