Andrews announces further relief assistance for Honduras
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews T.D., visited Honduras on Tuesday and Wednesday 12/13 January 1999, to witness at first hand the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch last November.
The Minister announced that the Government will provide IR£200000 in addition to the IR£550000 already provided by Ireland in emergency relief assistance following Hurricane Mitch. The additional funding, which is to be divided equally between APSO, Trocaire, Concern and GOAL, will be used mainly for quick impact low cost housing and sanitation.
During his two-day visit, the Minister met President Flores and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Minister Andrews was given an in depth briefing which underlined the extensive nature of the hurricane damage, which affected almost every province in the country. In the course of his meeting with Honduran Government Officials, they pointed out to him the need for urgent action by the European Commission in activating the $500 million which had been promised to the region over the next three years. The Minister undertook to raise this matter immediately on his return.
During his visit Mr Andrews toured a number of sites in and around the capital, Tegucigalpa, to see at first hand some of the areas severely damaged by the hurricane. In Pantanal, where Trocaire, with Government financial support, has been providing emergency relief to some 380 families, the Minister saw for himself a small example of the huge problem facing the Honduran Government in trying to provide temporary accommodation for the thousands of people displaced by the hurricane.
On his arrival in Honduras Minister Andrews met the heads of APSO, Trocaire, Concern and GOAL, who briefed him on the efforts they have been making to alleviate distress. In speaking with the NGOs the Minister made the point that “the needs of the situation are great and will require a long-term sustained effort by individual governments, NGOs and international aid agencies as well as by the governments and people of the region.” In this context the Minister announced that a needs assessment team from the Department of Foreign Affairs will visit the region in February to consider how best Ireland can help in the reconstruction process.
The Minister also met with a group of about 50 Irish relief workers. He thanked them, on behalf of the Government and people of Ireland, for the work they are doing to alleviate the plight of the Honduran people in the wake of Hurricane Mitch.
13 January, 1999