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Fact Sheet


President Clinton has been leading an aggressive relief effort in response to the disaster caused by Hurricane Mitch in Central America. Today, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Honduras and Nicaragua and announced the deployment of a second package of military support that will allow the U.S. to substantially increase relief and reconstruction efforts. The First Lady also announced additional food aid, debt relief, and other assistance, bringing total U.S. assistance to more than $250 million. Many United States government agencies are working tirelessly with us to help bring disaster relief to Central America. Here are some specifics:

Department of Defense

  • The President has directed the Department of Defense to release $75 million in emergency assistance for Central America. Over 1,300 soldiers are in the region as part of a special Joint Task Force of the four branches of service of the U.S. Military. This force will increase to more than 5,600 in the coming weeks. This task force is assisting in relief efforts on a number of fronts:
  • Dozens of U.S. military helicopters and aircraft operate daily and have delivered over 2.5 million pounds of relief supplies (food, water, blankets, sheeting, sanitation services) to date; additional helicopters arrived in the area on November 12, bringing the total to 39.
  • Military engineering units are clearing and repairing key roads;
  • DOD has transported $5 million in relief supplies donated by U.S. citizens under the Denton Program;
  • DOD's new package of support will deploy to the region this week to supplement current efforts. This support includes: 16 additional helicopters, engineering, bridge companies and road-building units, medical detachments and supplies, a field hospital, and 11 water purification systems;
  • A second Joint Task force was established today in El Salvador to coordinate military relief efforts in Nicaragua, Guatamala, and El Salvador.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • A 31-member Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from USAID is present in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador, coordinating U.S. relief activities with national and private voluntary efforts;
  • USAID is providing $30 million to purchase and distribute plastic sheeting, blankets and other relief supplies, procure food locally, provide health, water and sanitation services (including restoration of Tegucigalpa's water system), and purchase supplies for road repair and reconstruction. Ten flights have delivered relief supplies from stockpiles in the U.S. to Central America;
  • USAID is providing $25 million in emergency food aid, including 50,000 tons of rice, beans, oil and corn meal;
  • USAID is airlifting food to the region and has delivered almost 1,300 metric tons on 18 flights to Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala;
  • An estimated 6,000 metric tons is expected to arrive in the region by ship before the end of the month;
  • USAID and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will lead a mission, in partnership with the private sector, to address housing reconstruction and infrastructure repair needs;
  • USAID and the Inter-American Development Bank will provide $17 million in grants and loans to rebuild workplaces, reestablish inventories, and generate employment.

Department of Agriculture:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing 100,000 metric tons of wheat, worth approximately $12 million to Honduras and Nicaragua;
  • USDA will provide $20 million in grants to Honduras and Nicaragua for the purchase of beans, dry milk, vegetable oil, rice, and other basic commodities;
  • USDA will also provide another $10 million in concessional loans for food purchases to Guatamala and El Salvador.

Department of Treasury:

  • The U.S. is prepared to provide debt relief of up to $50 million for Nicaragua and Honduras, thereby relieving these two countries of their obligation to service their debt with the United States through the year 2000. The United States believes that these two countries should be relieved of all of their debt service obligations for the next two years and will work with our partners to accomplish this objective;
  • The United States will take a leading role in organizing a meeting of international donors in early December in Washington to discuss long-term financial assistance.

Department of Justice:

    The President has asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to extend a stay of deportation for nationals from Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala through the end of the year. In addition, the Administration is examining on an urgent basis recommendations for further relief.

Peace Corps:

    Additional members of the Peace Corps and former Peace Corps volunteers will travel to Nicaragua and Honduras to offer their expertise to help meet emergency needs and begin the rebuilding effort.


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