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01 Apr 2002 description

The people of the Central American countries have recently seen their livelihoods battered by a combination of natural disasters: hurricanes, drought, earthquakes, and even volcanic eruptions. In addition, they are facing economic problems such as low world prices for their major exports, notably coffee. The impact has been severe. Acute malnutrition, especially among children, is reported in several rural communities in Guatemala. In Nicaragua, thousands of destitute coffee farmers have reportedly migrated to the cities in search of employment.