Honduras street child population to double in storm's wake/Casa

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 13:07:55 -0400


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          owner-rapid-response@casa-alianza.org
Date:          Wed, 11 Nov 1998 20:07:17 -0600 (CST)


STREET CHILD POPULATION IN HONDURAS WILL
DOUBLE IN THE NEXT THREE MONTHS IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE MITCH.

(Bruce Harris is presently in Honduras. He will be sending us
regular updates on the situation there. He will also be sending
photographs which we will be placing on our web page
(http://www.casa-alianza.org). For more information please contact
Bruce Harris in Honduras or the Director of Casa Alianza Honduras
Alvaro Conde on 237 1750 / 237 3623 or 237 3556)


Hurricane Mitch, which has been described as the eeworst natural
disaster of this century', has in Central America left, to date, over
11 thousand people dead, more than 18 thousand people missing and some
3 million people either homeless or severely affected.

Amidst this human carnage are the street children of Central
America whose numbers are arguably set to double if not triple.
oWe have already seen, in the last five days, a hundred percent
increase in the number of children we have in our crisis centre in
Honduras,oe commented Bruce Harris Regional Director of Casa Alianza
Latin America.

oOur concern now is for the predicted hundreds of thousands of
children who have been orphaned by this terrible tragedy. The
authorities could barely take care of orphans before the hurricane,
now- more than ever -the state will never be able to absorb thousands
more,oe added Harris.

In Honduras the 30 children from Casa Alianza's Crisis Centre, who
were being temporarily housed in the National University of Pedagogy,
have now been moved to a local school. 60 other street children, who
were not formerly part of Casa Alianza's residential programmes, have
also been moved to the school and are currently being cared for by
Casa Alianza. Casa Alianza Honduras has been lent the school
facilities until February, following the suspension of educational
activities by the Honduran authorities. Showers and basic
infrastructure are being built by Casa Alianza, which is a subsidiary
of Covenant House in New York.

The Crisis Centre of Casa Alianza remains in a high risk area, as
defined by the authorities, and has been left unusable by hurricane
Mitch. Currently Casa Alianza is trying to drain the inches of mud,
silt and sewage left deposited in the Centre. Another facility, group
home San Pedro, remains evacuated. The children within Casa Alianza's
oFincaoe, which is used to house a drug rehabilitation programme and
located 45 minutes outside of the capital, has also been closed after
the water system became contaminated. Those children have also now
been moved to the capital and to the borrowed school.

Present concerns are being concentrated on making temporary
facilities within the school  liveable. Each child has a mattress
and there is water for the washing of clothes and basic necessities.
However, as with the rest of the population, drinking water remains
scarce and the price of basic food stuffs has doubled; these
factors, combined with the 100 % increase in children being attended,
is stretching Casa Alianza's budget to its limit. Many children have
already begun to show signs of ill health due to the poor living
conditions including diarrhoea, skin fungus and intestinal problems.




Casa Alianza's long term aim remains to restore the Crisis
Centre's facilities, while increasing the number of sleeping dorms in
order to absorb the present and expected increase in numbers of
children entering Casa Alianza programmes. Extra labourers have been
hired and are busy expanding facilities.

"With seventy percent of the country's crops destroyed and
infrastructure wiped out it's inevitable that people and that
means children, will migrate to the city. We have to be
prepared," said Harris.

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Streetkid-L Resource Page:  http://www.jbu.edu/business/sk.html
Listowner: jwalenci@acc.jbu.edu, John Brown University
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