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Storm swells in Caribbean

BY SUSAN KIM | Baltimore, MD | September 29, 2000

A hurricane watch was in effect along the Yucatan peninsula's eastern shore as far south as Belize.

Tropical Storm Joyce also strengthened, and a tropical storm watch was issued for Barbados, St. Vincent,

the Grenadine islands, Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada.

Keith brought rain to Honduras Friday, where long-term recovery efforts are still underway from

1998's Hurricane Mitch. Mitch -- which has been documented as the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane

ever -- killed some 12,000 people and affected the homes of 82,720 Honduran families in November

1998.

Many faith-based and voluntary groups still operate programs in Honduras to help residents recover

from Mitch. "We are still building houses, and we're still helping farmers redevelop their land," said

Jacob Kramer, of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. A significant agricultural challenge

has been improving the condition of the top soil, much of which was virtually blown off by Hurricane

Mitch.

Volunteer teams from the U.S. and other countries are also helping residents rebuild roads and walking

paths. Others are helping construct water systems.

At this point, some rain may help further stabilize farmers, said Kramer. "We have had a bit of drought

in certain areas."

The danger of mudslides today is less than it was when Hurricane Mitch hit. "The area has already had

an enormous amount of water all at once. Many areas that were unstable have collapsed, and most

rebuilding has not been done in risky areas," said Kramer.

A U.S.-based volunteer team, coordinated through the Church World Service Hurricane Mitch

Coordination Office, will travel to Honduras on Oct. 4 to rebuild houses.

Lutheran World Relief (LWR) -- along with many other denominations -- has sent volunteer teams

through the CWS effort. "We encourage Lutheran groups to join in," said LWR spokesperson Jonathan

Frerichs.

The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) works with the Social Action Commission of the Honduran

Mennonite Church to offer long-term recovery programs for Hondurans, and the Adventist

Development and Relief Agency also has programs that focus on long-term recovery and child health.

Catholic Relief Services and World Vision also involved in rebuilding homes.

Many groups reported that, when flooding or another disaster hits existing programs, response is

conducted by expanding or augmenting those already in place. "We had regular programs in Honduras

on an ongoing basis for years before Mitch hit," said Linda Shelly, of the MCC. "But Mitch was so huge

and devastating in so many parts of the country, we had to work with many groups with a lot of desire

to help and a vision of what they wanted -- but no experience."

As tropical storms Keith and Joyce strengthened, Hurricane Isaac weakened. With top sustained winds

of 90 mph on Saturday afternoon, it was expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by late

Saturday.


Related Topics:

Atlantic storm morphs into Javier

Florida prepares for TS Colin

More hurricanes predicted in '16


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