Mitch Aid to Focus on Better Housing: Pattern Change Could Prevent Future Disasters

By Barber, Ben | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 22, 1998 | Go to article overview

Mitch Aid to Focus on Better Housing: Pattern Change Could Prevent Future Disasters


Barber, Ben, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Aid experts fear the havoc left by Hurricane Mitch could spark new upheavals in Central America unless a $6 billion aid program can create better housing and livelihoods for the poor, living on unsafe hillside and riverbed shanties, who died by the thousands this fall.

Andrew Natsios, head of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance under President Bush, said this is the time to change ancient patterns that contributed to the disaster.

Aid officials say the survivors will be helped to build stronger houses that can withstand future storms in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, where 10,000 died and 10,000 remain missing.

A $300 million U.S. relief effort since Mitch hit in late October is about to shift from emergency food and medical aid to rebuilding houses and farms "better than before."

"They are seeing this in long term, not just as an emergency needing rebuilding as before, but dealing with deeper issues and building something much better than what they had before," said James Gustave Speth, administrator of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP).

"One reason the effects of Hurricane Mitch were so severe was because of poor environmental management," said Mr. Speth in a phone interview from New York.

"The people hit hardest, the poorest, lived on lakes or riverbanks or marginal areas on mountains and had nothing substantial to protect them."

But reconstruction plans announced Dec. 15 by Brian Atwood, head of the Agency for International Development, will require tampering with feudal aspects of societies of the region.

In Central America, the gap between the few rich families and the millions of the desperately poor is the biggest in the world, say U.N. officials. That gap sent millions of immigrants to the United States.

And struggles over land reform contributed to the lost decade of guerrilla wars of the 1980s.

"In the middle of a disaster, everyone is focused. It's the time to make changes in people's behavior," said Mr. Natsios, the former Bush administration official, now at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

"This is the time to pass land reform. Now there is the political will. You could conceivably do it."

AID announced Dec. 11 it was adding $120 million for reconstruction work in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The money will go to fight cholera, dengue fever and malaria, reactivate agriculture and small businesses, rebuild and equip schools and "mitigate environmental concerns such as soil stabilization," AID said in a statement.

About 4,000 U.S. troops are already spread out in humanitarian operations across terrain once riddled with hostile guerrillas and national armies fighting the proxy battles of the Cold War.

The head of the UNDP in Honduras, hardest hit by Mitch, said aid from the United States and other donors "is reaching the people, but there are a number of complications - people still live in unsanitary conditions.

"Lots of mud still covers the cities, particularly in the north," said Harold Robinson in a telephone interview from Honduras telephone last week.

"It has been raining. Even though food was sent, the conditions are difficult." Mr. Robinson said housing is needed for 200,000 people living in shelters - mainly at schools that are to open in February for the next semester.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mitch Aid to Focus on Better Housing: Pattern Change Could Prevent Future Disasters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.