Tipper Gore Visits
Nicaragua and Honduras
In the Wake of Hurricane Mitch
clear pixel

Mrs. Gore in Honduras
Mrs. Gore's Report

Announcement by the First Lady (English | Spanish)

Fact Sheet (English | Spanish)

Remarks by President Clinton to Mrs. Gore

President's Radio Address (English | Spanish)

More Photos

Learn More About Relief Efforts in Central America


A Message from Tipper Gore

The people of Central America have suffered a disaster of Biblical proportions. The pace of their recovery depends, to a large measure, on what we as their neighbors do to help them, and on the long-term involvement of the international community.

Less than a week ago, I led a Presidential Delegation to Central America to witness firsthand the devastation that has resulted from Hurricane Mitch. The scale of the disaster is beyond anything we have ever witnessed. Some claim that this may be the worst natural disaster in recorded history. The human toll from this disaster is immense -- more than ten thousand lives lost and more than one million people homeless. No one in Central America has been untouched by this tragedy.

Our Delegation, which included Senators Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and Mary Landrieu and Representatives Gary Ackerman, Jim Kolbe and Xavier Becerra, along with USAID Administrator Brian Atwood, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jack Leonard, and Atlanta Braves player Dennis Martinez, a native Nicaraguan, flew into Tegucigalpa, Honduras and went to visit one of the harder hit neighborhoods.

Before the storm, the Manuel Bonilla School served the entire community -- when we arrived, it was ankle-deep in mud. We worked side by side with the community leaders and the Delegation members of the Delegation to clean up the school so it could be used as a medical facility. That night, I slept in a tent pitched at a shelter in the Japon School, which housed families whose homes and even neighborhoods had been totally lost. They spoke of when the storm hit. Many had no warning and were caught by surprise. It came so fast that many were trapped in their homes with water up to their chests, trying to escape. I met a woman in the shelter who was six months pregnant and another who was grandmother caring for her grandchildren. They had lost everything. I met a blind man who barely got out in time. They are now living in one large room, sleeping on mats. Disease is rampant.

The next day in Managua, I visited Ciudad Sandino, a refugee site for more than 1,000 men, women and children whose homes along the river bank are completely destroyed. The conditions they are living in are unimaginable. The government has given them one large plot of land which is divided into small parcels -- one per family. Their only shelter is made from sheets of plastic. One small stream trickles through the area, but it is contaminated. They're experiencing outbreaks of both cholera and malaria. They biggest concerns right now are food, water, and medicine.

In both Honduras and Nicaragua, even though the sheer enormity of this tragedy was difficult to comprehend, I was struck by the strength and spirit of the people. They are not defeated. They are cleaning up their homes and rebuilding their lives. In Honduras, community leaders have mobilized to help those most in need and to get food and water to the outlying areas. In the make-shift shelters in Managua, many people had tape measures and were measuring foundations for new walls they will build when the materials are available. You can see that this disaster has destroyed their homes -- but not their spirits. They will survive. And we will stand with them as they do so.


Mrs. Gore's Home Page

[Footer icon]

[White House icon] [Help Desk icon]

To comment on this service,
send feedback to the Web Development Team.