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Honduras: Geologists Identify Potential Landslides

UN sends team to Honduras to identify potential landslides after deadly storm

12 November 2008 – The United Nations has deployed a team of geologists to Honduras to help authorities in the Central American country identify risk zones for landslides and mudslides in the wake of Tropical Storm Paloma, which has killed dozens of people and left an estimated 320,000 others in need of assistance.

The geological team was deployed by a joint unit of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in cooperation with the Swedish Rescue Services Agency, OCHA reported today. The deployment follows a recommendation from a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team that visited the area.

OCHA added that the geologists will work closely with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Permanent Commission for Contingencies (COPECO) in carrying out their work.

The fear of landslides and mudslides remains high after Paloma, which began as a lesser tropical depression, swept across the region and caused floods and destroyed cropland and infrastructure in northern and western Honduras and neighbouring Guatemala as well. At least 60 Hondurans have died while 17 Guatemalans were also killed following more than 15 consecutive days of rains as part of a separate tropical depression.

OCHA warned last week that it has so far received less than 10 per cent of the $17 million flash appeal launched by UN agencies and their non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to cover food, health, shelter, water and sanitation, and education needs for those affected for the next six months. The UN humanitarian wing also urged donors to support an appeal for assistance from the Guatemalan Government.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are among the UN agencies on the ground in Honduras providing relief to those affected by the floods that followed Paloma. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are also providing support.

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