Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Applauds San Francisco Relief Effort for Victims of Hurricane Mitch
Calls on Sec. Cohen to Assist with Military Airlift of Local Supplies

November 23, 1998

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), senior Democrat on the House Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee, today joined with Mayor Willie Brown, the San Francisco Port Commission and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union to applaud the local effort on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Mitch. Rep. Pelosi has called on Defense Secretary William Cohen to assist the local effort by providing military air transport for needed supplies to the people of Central America. In addition she is asking the Department of Defense and the U.S. Maritime Administration to deploy vessels in the "ready reserve program" to transport the relief goods in Bay Area warehouses.

"This assistance is absolutely essential to prevent further loss of life. With 2 million people left homeless and recent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as cholera, clean water is a priority to the affected people of Central America. In addition, medical supplies are also in high demand," said Pelosi. The Port of San Francisco is currently storing a Water Purification System and medical supplies to assist the people of Nicaragua. This water purification system has the ability to process 100,000 gallons of water per day.

"While our short-term response to this disaster should help reduce the widespread pain and suffering for the survivors, we must also look to the future. Mitch wiped out half the gross national products of Honduras and Nicaragua. The U.S. can, and should, be a leader in the rebuilding effort in the region," Pelosi said. Currently, the U.S. Government disaster relief totals $125 million and includes food, medicine, building materials and other essentials.

As ranking Democrat on the Foreign Operations subcommittee which funds our international assistance to restore the devastated countries of Central America, Rep. Pelosi supports President Clinton's call for a December meeting of international donors to discuss long-term financial assistance to the region and the decision to provide up to $50 million in debt relief to Nicaragua and Honduras. She would also encourage the President to include significant bilateral reconstruction and development assistance in his FY 2000 budget request.

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