Third World Debt and Disaster Recovery
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Please note that the content of this article was written back in 1998 and 2000, and many of the links to other sites may not work. While this page is in the Natural Disasters section, it is simply bringing in content also available since 2000, on this site's Third World Debt section.
When poor countries face natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and fires, the cost of rebuilding becomes even more of an issue when they are already burderned with debt. Often poor countries have had to suffer with many lost lives and some aid while still paying millions a week back in the form of debt repayment.
On this page:
Debt Relief and The Floods of Mozambique and Madagascar
The worst floods for 50 years and a devastating cyclone in the first three weeks of February, 2000 in Mozambique has been met with a slow response by the international community to provide much needed assistance and aid. As many as 300,000 were feared to have lost everything, while there were fears of more floods.
The floods are also thought to have moved landmines from previously known minefield areas to areas that have already been cleared. Mozambique is one of the world's most heavily mined countries. To find out more about the terrible effects of landmines see this site's page on landmines.
As with the effects from Hurricane Mitch, debt burdens once again have come to the fore. Even Mozambique's government has been urging a cancellation of the country's debts to help use those saved resources for rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure.
For more information, you can start at the coverage from Guardian.
The UN also estimates that 600,000 people have been affected in Madagascar, the world's fourth largest island. That is twice as many in Mozambique. Two cyclones tore through the island. One of them made its way on to Mozambique resulting in the damage that filled headlines. However, a second cyclone that hit Madagascar didn't get to Mozambique.
Debt Relief and Hurricane Mitch
The devastation in Central America caused by one of the deadliest storms in over 200 years, Hurricane Mitch, November 1998, has been terrible. A UN report estimates that the destruction caused will set back development in this region by 20 years. The cost of rebuilding after Hurricane Mitch has highlighted the problems of debt repayment and debt relief that these countries are still facing (a repayment of about $200 million a day from Honduras and Nicaragua, two of the worst hit areas).
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