Leptospirosis, spread through a water supply
Honduras one month after Mitch, December 1 '98  
From one of our Partners - Casa Alianza 


The infections on their feet, provide perfect gateways for this unpronouncable and deathly virus.

Its hard to say, but easy to catch. And deadly. Last week there were seven cases. Now 14. As disease spreads, so does death.

As the Hurricane Mitch waters flooded the small sewage filled rivers, the populous rat population fled to higher ground, into the cities. They ate off animal carcases and human cadavers. They devoured raw sewage spewing out of broken pipes. They bred and grew. Whilst the humans hungered, the rats had a feast. The ones I saw in our evacuated Crisis center were the size of young cats.

Leptospirosis is spread through a water supply that has been infected by rats urine. It produces violent vomiting, diarrhea and, all too quickly, death.

The street children who have been delving through the infected waters trying to find anything to eat or sell, are prime targets. Their hands and bare feet already inflicted with small cuts, and the infections on their feet, provide perfect gateways for this unpronouncable and deathly virus.

This past week Casa Alianza staff have been vaccinating all the street children in sight against hepatitus A and other preventible diseases. The more than a dozen children with diarrhea have been isolated and checked for infections. But the lack of water continues to hinder personal cleanliness....

We continue to truck in expensive water for the temporary Crisis Center, spending close to a hundred dollars a day. We have purchased two large storage tanks to aument the momentary supplies of water through the city|s system. The price of the imperative bottled water has shot up from 14 lempiras a bottle pre- Mitch to more than 20 now. Someone is making a killing. Those without water and getting killed. Four people have already died of the leptos whatever.

As the days pass, the intensity of the emergency diminishes, as human nature kicks in and we get used to living in a crisis. Bloated bodies are still being discovered as mounds of mud are shunted from one side to another. A little boy fell from a damaged bridge with no handrail into the stench many meters below. He died. Another little victim in the continuing tragedy of Mitch.

In our temporary Crisis Center, food rations have gone back to normal and there is a sense of calm as the children are divided into groups for activities, mindfully oblivious of the sea of human tragedy all around them. Such irony that only now the general population of Honduras - newly homeless, hungry and hurt - are begining to feel what the street children suffer each day on the streets....

We negotiate for help. A few rations from CARE, some limited help from the government, and a possible grant from the Inter American Development Bank. Like treacle, the trickle down theory moves slowly in a poverty plagued population desperate to move ahead. Fifty years of progress wiped out in 3 days. With the new government this year, we had all wished for a new Tegucigalpa. We would now be more than happy with the old one we had last month.

There are still few smiles on the multitude of faces aimlessly wandering around what are left of the capital|s streets. They are not interrupted by the seas of TV cameramen anymore, who are now probably peeking at Pinochet or staring at Sadam. But life, what is left of it, must go on.

The TV news last night reported that the large shops in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa had put up the Christmas lights, and that things were  starting to get back to normal". And as the flood water recedes and uncovers the bridges, the street children can once again get back to their normality, and sleep under them once again...

Poor Honduras. Poor children....

From a tired soul, still trying to cling on to hope. With love,


Casa Alianza, a BOES.ORG Partner, received the prestigious Olof Palme Award 1997

BOES.ORG Main INDEX     Also visit our partner: Casa Alianza Latin America
Load Complete Central America Frame Set
Leptospirosis, spread through a water supply
An unwanted child
Few smiles on the faces of the 10,000 street children
After Mitch, the Street Children, forgotten by everyone
A high risk area - Honduras, November 12 '98
Witness report: Honduras stinks....
A panorama of death - Honduras, November 04 '98
Emergency in Honduras - Your help needed         Tropical Storm Mitch - Info
Police Officers jailed for Raping Street Child
The Drugs on the street of Vancouver
Worse than heroin
Arrest of another American sex tourist in Costa Rica
Guatemalan President refuses to pay for police murder of street Child
1997: A Year of continuing violence against Guatemalan Street Children
Two Honduran street Children shot on Christmas Day
Shooting of two Guatemalan Street Children