Canadian Assistance to Hurricane Mitch Victims

Report
from Canadian International Development Agency
Published on 16 Nov 1998
Canada has pledged $100 million over the next four years for Central America's recovery. The funds will come from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) envelope, and will focus on restoring agricultural production, reconstructing basic health facilities, water and sanitation infrastructure and rebuilding houses. Part of the funds will also go towards protecting the environment and managing natural resources, for example, by planting trees on hillsides to prevent erosion.

Canada has suspended repayments of principal and interest on $29.5 million in official debt owed by Honduras. This will provide relief to Honduras on debt servicing until a new multilateral repayment schedule can be put in place. Nicaragua, the other country in the region seriously affected by Hurricane Mitch, is also a focus of concern, but there are no outstanding official debts owed to Canada. Canada will be working in the days ahead with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Paris Club of official creditors, to assess what further financial assistance may be needed for hurricane affected countries. Canada will also be consulting with G7 and European colleagues on a regular basis to review the situation.

CIDA has been working quickly to disperse Canada's $9.15 million in emergency assistance and the following amounts have already been allocated:

  • in response to an appeal from the World Food Program, approximately $2 million in Canadian food aid for Nicaragua / Honduras (100 tonnes of canned herring, from Canada's east coast, will be shipped this week);
  • $500,000 to the Pan American Health Organization for immediate needs in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize, including sanitary and emergency facilities, transportation of medical supplies, and other needs such as clean water, food, blankets and antibiotics;
  • $500,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for immediate needs: to provide medical support and first aid to people in shelters; to ensure supplies of drinking water; to ensure emergency shelter as well as clothing; to support repairs to housing; to respond to training requests; and to support long-term rehabilitation;
  • approximately $1 million to Canadian non-governmental organizations including: CARE, OXFAM-Canada and OXFAM-Québec, Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation, and Save the Children.
  • $2 million to the Canadian embassies in Central America to respond to local relief appeals.
  • $150,000 for the provision of basic necessities and mapping.
  • An emergency response team has been established at CIDA headquarters in Hull, to coordinate and monitor appeals from its partners working to provide immediate assistance.
  • Canada is also helping facilitate the shipment of goods from Canadian partners to Central America on Department of National Defence flights.
  • A second CIDA official left for the region Saturday, November 7, to determine reconstruction requirements and to evaluate the impact of Hurricane Mitch on CIDA's projects in the region and how they may be adjusted to respond to the actual crisis.
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=A9 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 1998