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When Hurricane Mitch hit South America in November 1998, it most harshly affected Honduras and Nicaragua, and most of those affected were already living in extreme poverty. The author highlights the connection between the extent of the damage from this `natural disaster’ and deforestation and bad land management practices, which greatly increased the impact of Mitch in these countries. He advocates a rebuilding strategy for the countries, which reconstructs the economies more equitably rather than reinforcing the socio-economic and political orders that perpetuate the violation of human rights. He makes specific reference to the need to cancel debt repayments.

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