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Emergecies » Hondurans Watch Hurricane Katrina From a Distance
Sep 06, 2005

By Wendy Griffin

CNN in Spanish and other national and international news programs every day for the last 10 days have brought horrifying pictures of the destruction in the New Orleans area into Honduran homes. With 125,000 Hondurans living in New Orleans according to Spanish daily La Prensa, including hundreds of Garifunas, the question on everyone’s mind was --how are my old friends, neighbors or family?

At my friend Rigo’s home, people would pass by--¿Como está Doña Chula? How is your cousin Miss Chula? At first t he answer was sad—No hay noticias. We have no news. We do not know anything about her.

Now that people are being evacuated to safety, people are calling home. Doña Chula is fine. She had been away in California at a funeral—but she probably lost everything she had in the States.

Doña Ancela is a much loved woman among the Garifuna residents of Trujillo. She always helps out at prayer services for the dead and she visits the sick, too. She has a beautiful smile that comes from the peace she feels as a Catholic and a Christian. But for more than a week, she dragged. “I have had no news of my daughter. She lives in New Orleans,? she said dejectedly.

At last good news came. Her daughter had spent the Hurricane in the Superdome and was later evacuated to Houston with her daughter.

But she too had probably lost everything. Many people’s jobs also will not open right away. She has shelter in Houston, but no job.

Loss of work in the States will mean hard times for many Hondurans here who rely on monthly sums sent back by their relatives in the States, called in Spanish “remesas?.

Help for Hondurans

When the Hurricane hit, missing person lists were started on the Internet. Most are accessible from www.yahoo.com but they are all in English.

One site specifically for missing Hondurans is at www.hondurasemb.org. This is a list of all Hondurans affected by Katrina who have reported to Honduran consulates in the US.

There are several special websites set up to help people affected by the Hurricane. On www.latinamericantrade.net/kck.htm there are resources for Hispanics affected by Katrina. At www.hurricanehousing.org there are offers of places to stay with people for those affected by the Hurricane.

All Hondurans who were affected by the Hurricane are asked to contact the Honduran Consulate. Temporarily the Consulate that was in New Orleans is now in Baton Rouge 75miles to the north. The phone number is (225)343-4219. The email of the Honorary Consul of Honduras in Baton rouge is jvcalhoun@aol.com. She is willing to try to help affected people get help and to help family members looking for persons lost in the Hurricane.


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