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HOUSING SECRETARY CUOMO AND U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY MACKAY ANNOUNCE $291 MILLION FOR RECONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN HONDURAS
TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - U.S Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Special Envoy for the Americas Buddy MacKay today announced an additional $291 million in disaster aid to Honduras to speed recovery from Hurricane Mitch.
Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores joined the U.S. officials at a news conference in Tegucigalpa held to announce the additional U.S. assistance from HUD and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
"The United States is working to help Honduras and its people recover from the tragedy of Hurricane Mitch," Cuomo said. "We will be your partners in building new housing for homeless families and in helping to create a healthier and more prosperous future for Honduras."
"These funds will provide urgently needed resources to help Hondurans repair and rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Mitch," MacKay said. "With these funds, farmers can plant new crops. Roads, hospitals and schools can be rebuilt. Hondurans can look to the future with hope."
The aid to Honduras is part of a multimillion-dollar U.S. reconstruction package for housing and infrastructure projects in Central America, the Caribbean and Colombia.
Some U.S. funds for Honduras will be used to help create new permanent housing for many of the 22,000 Honduran families whose homes were destroyed by floods and mudslides, along with many of the 50,000 other families who were displaced because of damage to their homes.
The U.S. assistance also will be used to: spark economic development by increasing access to capital by small business owners and farmers; improve public health by repairing and rebuilding rural water supply and sanitation systems; improve education through repair and rehabilitation of schools; strengthen local governments by helping to repair damaged infrastructure; and improve disaster mitigation efforts that could decrease the impact of future natural disasters.
HUD will focus its portion of the assistance on: introducing improved construction and building technologies; finding permanent housing for displaced residents; developing effective community planning models to manage urban growth; and fostering the entry of banks and other lenders into the housing market for low-income borrowers.
One of the major HUD programs will create Empowerment Zones For Reconstruction. HUD will help Honduras develop strategic plans to spark speedy and coordinated action to rebuild homes and businesses in the Empowerment Zones, which will be in areas that suffered severe hurricane damage.
A substantial portion of HUD assistance will be focused on helping reconstruction in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.
During his stay in Honduras, Cuomo visited a transitional housing site in Tegucigalpa and participated in a roundtable discussion on disaster mitigation and building safer housing with representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in the housing sector.
Approximately 4.7 million people in Honduras were affected by damages caused by Hurricane Mitch last October. Estimated damages caused by the storm to homes, road and bridges, schools, airports and utilities total $8.5 billion.
President Clinton sent Cuomo to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico last year to report on actions the U.S. could take to assist in rebuilding efforts after Hurricanes Mitch and Georges hit. HUD is bringing private sector and federal assistance to the area to help Central America build and repair thousands of homes, and has sent teams of experts to speed recovery. HUD's increased international efforts under Cuomo mark a revitalization of international activities by the Department.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009