International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Disasters in the Region


After Mitch: What Has Happened With International Cooperation?

The following news items are based on information from the Central American Integration System (SICA), electronic newspapers and news reports, and the local media. The Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and General Secretariat for National Planning corroborated the information.

The European Union Will Give Central America 3.5 Million Euros For Risk Prevention

The European Commission announced that it will provide Central America with 3.5 million euros (some US$2.9 million) for a disaster prevention plan. The funds, which will be managed by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), will enable non-governmental organizations working in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to launch a total of 10 projects in 2001.

The projects are aimed at reducing the vulnerability of those most at risk in the Isthmus and help to palliate institutional management deficiencies, said European Commission spokesperson. Education, training, and awareness raising are also contemplated in the plan.

Including this new grant, the European Union will have allocated a total of 5.6 euros for natural disaster prevention in Central America since 1998, when Hurricane Mitch devastated the region. Central American countries are still recovering from the disaster, which two years ago caused 9,214 deaths, almost as many disappearances, and losses of more than US$6.5 billion.

BCIE Funding Projects For US$500 Million In Central America

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) will provide between US$450 million and US$500 million a year to “have a fuller impact on the integration and development” of the region, said BCIE president Pablo Schneider.

The Bank’s Board of Directors, made up of the ministers of Economics and the Treasury of Central America, agreed to this sum when they met in San José, Costa Rica, to define the institution’s strategic five-year plan.

The BCIE is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Over its existence, it has approved 1,665 loans for Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador, totaling US$5.48 billion. The Bank’s mission is to help finance sectors considered strategic to the economic and social development of Central America.

Central America Reviews Reconstruction Projects For Madrid Meeting

Central American government officials met at the headquarters of the Central American Integration System (SICA) in San Salvador in October to review the vulnerability reduction projects and funds that they will be presenting to the Consultative Group of international donors and financial institutions in Madrid during the second half of January 2001.

Participants included Arturo Montenegro, Secretary of Planning of the Presidency of Guatemala, and Héctor González, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for International Cooperation of El Salvador. The Secretary for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, Mauricio Guzmán, and the Director of Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Noemi Baruch, were also present. Glenda Gallardo and Melvin Redondo represented the presidency of Honduras, while Panama was represented by one of its Salvadoran embassy officials, Rogelio Salazar.

Representatives of international agencies included regional chief for Latin America of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), George Carner; the head of the Central American division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Jorge Sapoznikow; the president of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE), Pablo Schneider; and Oscar Santamaría, Secretary General of SICA.

In 1999, in Stockholm, the Consultative Group promised Central America US$9 billion in donations and loans. Of the total, more than US$5 billion were offered to Honduras and Nicaragua, the two countries most severely affected by the cyclone, but delivery of the funds has been gradual, in disbursements that should continue over the next two to three years.

The disbursements are conditioned on the transparency with which the funds are managed, good governance, and the execution of measures to fight poverty and reactivate the economy.

For more information please contact:
Dra. Hilda Leal de Molina
PAHO/WHO Guatemala