MADRID (Jan. 29) XINHUA - Some 2
million Latin Americans now bear the status of refugees or displaced persons
because of the natural disasters that have affected South and Central America
in the last two years.
The "La Vanguardia" daily said Saturday that the violent climate changes that have scoured the American continent have caused an increase of natural catastrophes, and as a consequence, millions of persons have been forced to leave their homes to seek refuge in safe zones.
The number of refugees has doubled since 1997 and experts agree that the figure continues growing.
The United Nations' Center for Evaluation of Disasters in Latin America and its Caribbean president Romulo Caballeros said that up to a few years ago there was one natural disaster a year in the region, but that now "there are three or four" because of the climate change.
Hurricane "Mitch" caused Honduras damage for some 5 billion dollars in 1998, and at least 320,000 Hondurans emigrated illegally to the United States and many more settled in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama.
The drought made some 300,000 persons to abandon the rural areas and go to the big cities in Brazil, while in Venezuela the strong rains last December caused serious economic losses and thousands of dead and victims.
Copyright (c) 2000 Comtex Scientific
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/29/2000 17:54:21