Hurricane Relief On Its Way

President Clinton will visit Central America next week to deliver a relief package and visit the areas still recovering from the damage left by Hurricane Mitch. After four months of recovery, the region is still faced with an epidemic of impoverishment and homelessness, reports CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts.

In Honduras and Nicaragua, children by the thousands have either been abandoned by their families in the countryside or fled on their own to major cities - creating a new more dangerous and desperate generation of street children.

Nearly 100,000 children haven't been to school since the hurricane swept the two countries. Half the population of both Honduras and Nicaraqua are children - under the age of 15 - and most of them are now without parental care.

The poorest children have little to look forward to and are considered lucky if all they lost was their home.

Two thousand people still live at a soccer stadium in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. A garbage dump provides the only meal for many in Managua, Nicaragua.

They frequently end up in a Central American version of a crack house. And their drug of choice can be purchased at any local shoe shop. The streetwise children become strung out on glue because this is often their only form of escapism.

According to Beart Aasen from UNICEF, it will take years, perhaps even a generation, for the epidemic to end.

"You probably find it a lot now after the hurricane. You find it a lot more because of the loss of crops and the loss of jobs in the area," said Alvarao Pereira, who runs a relief agency in Nicaragua.

Relief agencies say a large amount of aid will not end the epidemic quickly because the damage has been so detrimental.
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter