1998 NCC News Archives
CWS CONTINUES TO RESPOND TO HURRICANE MITCH
Earlier Story on CWS Response
How to Help:
CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, Attn. Hurricane Mitch, #LAHD82, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Phone pledges or credit card donations: 1-800-762-0968.
Who We Are:
CWS works in more than 80 countries, including the U.S., in disaster relief, human development and refugee assistance. It is a ministry of the National Council of Churches, the nations preeminent ecumenical organization, which includes 34 Protestant and Orthodox member communions with a combined membership of nearly 52 million.
|NEW YORK, Nov. 25 ---- As
Americans give thanks for the bounty in their lives this week, Church World Service (CWS)
staff and a team of volunteer doctors are spending the Thanksgiving holiday with Hurricane
Mitch survivors in Latin America whose own lives and crops have been devastated by this
Three weeks after one of the most catastrophic disasters to strike Latin America this century, an emergency situation remains in many areas, reports CWS Latin America/Caribbean Director Oscar Bolioli, who visited with the Christian Commission for Development (CCD) in Honduras last week. But the major concern among the churches and many in the Honduran government is that a social crisis and political instability are looming because of projected mass unemployment. "The desperation of people could result in extreme situations," Mr. Bolioli said. "There are already signs of this, as seen in a significant exodus of people in the north who are going toward Guatemala."
In the face of such profound destruction, Bolioli said, "the question becomes whether to reconstruct the country or use this juncture to build a new country." Bolioli foresees CWS and other agencies being engaged in a two-year reconstruction effort in Honduras that would continue through the end of the year 2000.
The continuing CWS response, as part of its expanded $300,000 appeal, includes the following elements:
"CCD has a deep appreciation for CWSs response since our funds were the first to arrive when they had no resources and ours was the first flight to bring material aid," Mr. Bolioli says.
Although emergency assistance is needed and received with gratitude, Bolioli continues to stress the long-term needs in the region. "The creation of alternative jobs is a priority," he explains. "Banana and pineapple plantations will not be in full production for about a year-and-a-half. According to President Flores, the large fruit companies have not given any signal that they want to invest in reconstructing the plantations. The fear is that the fruit companies may move from being producers to traders of the products. The Honduran state does not have the capacity to recover the plantations."
"This disaster has revealed the underlying disaster of poverty that already existed," Bolioli says.
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