DISASTERS: A Hurricane in Honduras

Few of Honduras' impoverished campesinos took much interest in radio reports on the progress of Hurricane Fifi as it churned on a seemingly aimless course off the Central American coast. Only two weeks before, a far more powerful hurricane, dubbed Carmen by meteorologists, had brushed past without inflicting major damage; Fifi sounded as frivolous as its name.

The name belied reality. As Hurricane Fifi slowly swept along the coast, torrential rains on its periphery dumped 20 in. of water on the high Sierra de Omoa in just 40 hours. Rivers and streams swelled...

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