-A high risk area
Honduras, November 12, '98  
From one of our Partners - Casa Alianza 

More than 18 thousand people missing

Hurricane Mitch, which has been described as the eeworst natural disaster of this century's, 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.

Our 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.

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

Casa Alianza
SJO 1039
PO Box 025216
Miami FL 33102-5216 USA
Casa Alianza, a BOES.ORG Partner, received the prestigious Olof Palme Award 1997

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