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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 98-639
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685Friday
Or contact your local HUD officeDecember 11, 1998


(Spanish Version)

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today said HUD will provide $5 million in emergency assistance to help rebuild housing in Central American nations devastated by Hurricane Mitch, and presented Honduras with 2,500 pounds of donated tools to speed repairs and new construction.

The HUD aid is part of $125 million in U.S. aid to Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala announced today by President Clinton in Washington for reconstruction efforts. The President also announced $17 million in new food aid.

President Clinton sent Cuomo to visit Nicaragua Thursday and Honduras today to report on actions the United States can take to assist rebuilding efforts. The Secretary was part of a group that included Senators Pete Domenici of New Mexico and Bill Frist of Tennessee, along with USAID Deputy Administrator Hattie Babbitt.

Cuomo said HUD will use its assistance to help the Central American nations develop innovative ways of building affordable housing, providing widely accessible mortgage financing, improving land management and developing new and more appropriate building standards.

"With hundreds of thousands of families left homeless by Hurricane Mitch, the people of Central America need to find ways to build homes faster, more efficiently, and more affordably than ever before," Cuomo said. "HUD will be their partner in this important effort. President Clinton has asked us to work with all sectors of the U.S. housing and lending industry to help our Central American neighbors solve this housing crisis."

This morning Cuomo presented Honduras with 2,500 pounds of tools donated by customers of Home Depot stores around the United States and by The Stanley Works, manufacturer of Stanley tools. The thousands of tools in the shipment arrived in Honduras today via a U.S. military flight. They are the first installment of thousands more tools that Home Depot and Stanley will deliver to Central America in coming weeks in a partnership with HUD and Habitat for Humanity.

"These tools will literally change the face of Central America, helping victims of Hurricane Mitch rebuild their homes and rebuild their communities," Cuomo said. "Our goal is to help families with no place to live today get desperately needed housing as soon as they can."

The tools consist primarily of hammers, nails, shovels, pick axes, screwdrivers, rakes, work gloves, hand saws, hoes, chisels and wrenches. Home Depot customers have donated new and used tools to the company's 724 stores in 43 states in response to an appeal from the company. Stanley has donated 5,000 new tools it has manufactured.

"The Home Depot is extremely proud to respond to this call to action," said Larry Mercer, Executive Vice President of operations for The Home Depot. "Many of our store associates and neighbors have expressed their desire to help. These tools will give hope to those who have made it through such terrible destruction."

"Stanley Works is glad that our tools and hardware can help so many people in such great need," said Miguel Davison, Vice President of Stanley Latin America Operations. "We are pleased to join with Home Depot, HUD, Habitat for Humanity and others to help the important work of rebuilding in Central America get underway."

Cuomo met today with Acting Honduran President Billy Handal and other Honduran officials to discuss the Clinton Administration's disaster assistance. He was then taking a driving tour of Tegucigalpa to see areas that suffered major damage in the hurricane.

Cuomo and other members of the U.S. delegation met earlier with Nicaraguan officials working on reconstruction efforts in that country. After the meeting, Cuomo and the delegation traveled by helicopter to the town of Posoltega to view the mud slide where many people were killed. The group also visited hurricane-ravaged Ciudad Dario, and stopped by a church that has been converted to a relief center for hundreds of those left homeless.

Mitch roared through parts of Central America six weeks ago on a deadly path killing thousands.

Earlier this fall, Cuomo visited Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic in the wake of Hurricane Georges. HUD officials then returned in October and are continuing to assist with reconstruction efforts.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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