Hurricane Mitch

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It is important to remember that the ability to transport and store supplies in the disaster areas are limited. Donated items, that are not immediately needed, can block the shipment of aid that is required to save human lives. The best donation you can make is cash to a charity that you are familiar with.


People killed  Missing  Affected population  Houses destroyed / damaged
Honduras  7,000  8,052  1,393,669  70,000
Nicaragua 1,849  1,287  800,000  24,975
Guatemala 258  120  105,000 19,093
El Salvador 239  235 67,300 10,000
Total  9,346 9,694 2,365,969 124,068

  From: OCHA Situation Report No.13, 12 November 1998
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Hurricane Mitch approaching Honduras. September 27 Quick time Movie (QT, 1MB) For inquiries concerning U.S. citizens, call the U.S. Department of State, American Citizens Services for Hurricane Mitch at (202) 647-6614. This number is frequently busy during the first days of a large disaster.


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The most destructive part of a hurricane is usually the storm surge. The surge effect is due to the winds of the hurricane pushing up a "dome" of water in front of the hurricane. As this surge of water hits the coastal area tides may be several tens of feet higher than normal. This wall of water works it's way up rivers to cause damage far inland. The rise in water level happens at the same time as the heavy rains associated with hurricanes. The fall of ten inches or more of rain during the hurricane is not unusual. The tidal surge and the rainfall combine to cause flooding. The damage caused by the flooding of property is the largest cost to property owners due to hurricanes. Wind damages bring about the second highest cost, due to the physical power of the hurricane. The costs due to the hurricane just start with the physical damage caused by the hurricane. The general disturbance of every day life activities in any area impacted by disaster bring about costs due to business operations being disrupted. The ability of people to work may be limited due to the shortages of the essential requirements for life, for the need to find replacement housing, for the care of family members injured or traumatized by the disaster, and for the shortage of materials essential for work. There is some delay between the disaster and the availability of funding to begin repairs. Many business within a disaster area do not reopen, because insurance may be lacking to pay for the needed repairs, and even if insurance or loans are available, they may not be enough to cover the required repairs. Damage to essential data stored in computer systems may make restarting an existing business difficult. And any disruption in a business will cause an existing business' clients to seek other suppliers, so that when the business reopens it may find itself with out it's previous patrons. Hurricanes are one disaster in which it is possible to have several days warning prior to the hurricanes arrival. As the arrival of the hurricane can be to some extent predicted, it is important to begin preparations for the hurricane as soon as we have information that it may land in a location near us. Because we can not know exactly where the hurricane will hit, it is important to listen to the local weather authorities. Local weather authorities will issue warnings and announce evacuations. Given a large scale disaster your family may be cut off from any assistance for three days. Every family should have on hand a supply of food, water, personal and medical supplies to last at least 3 days. In any disaster situation it is possible that utilities will not be functioning. For this reason, you should keep on hand a supply of cash and a full tank of fuel in any vehicle. If we live in an area that has a history hurricanes, we can and should begin our preparations for hurricanes long before we receive any notification. Consult local building authorities about any improvements that may be made to your house to lesson the likelihood of damage to the structure. The biggest factor in determining the likelihood of your properties ability to withstand damage due to winds is the date of its construction. In recent years building codes have been upgraded. As a general rule, the older the property the more likely it is to sustain damage in a disaster. Walk around the outside of your property. Inspect the trees and landscaping for objects likely to fall or to be blown away by the winds associated with a hurricane. Consider purchasing storm shutters or pre-purchasing the supplies needed to protect windows from storm damage. Since water damage is the biggest cause of property damage in a disaster you should examine the possibly of purchasing flood insurance. Just because you are outside of the recognized flood zones does not mean your home will not be flooded. The cost of reparing damage due to flooding is not normally covered by most home owners policies, but is the biggest single cause of property damage.

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Eastern North Pacific Names for 1998
Hurricane Agatha Hurricane Blas Hurricane Celia Hurricane Darby Hurricane Estelle Hurricane Frank Hurricane Georgette Hurricane Howard Hurricane Isis Hurricane Javier Hurricane Kay Hurricane Lester Hurricane Madeline Hurricane Newton Hurricane Orlene Hurricane Paine Hurricane Roslyn Hurricane Seymour Hurricane Tina Hurricane Virgil Hurricane Winifred Hurricane Xavier Hurricane Yolanda Hurricane Zeke