Murderous Mitch

The hurricane that devastated Central America killed thousands and slaughtered the hopes of millions

Tragedy is numbingly routine in Central America. Poverty, earthquakes and civil wars have savaged the region for most of this century. Still, the Dantesque calamity that hit the isthmus last week may have taken suffering to a new plateau. As many as 10,000 people were estimated dead in the battered countries of Nicaragua and Honduras, while some 2 million were left homeless, in the wake of the relentless rains of Hurricane Mitch. In all, the storm caused a staggering $3 billion in damage--more than half the combined Nicaraguan and Honduran gross domestic products.

In Nicaragua alone, where 3,800 were thought...

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