HONDURAN PRESIDENT Carlos Flores this week named a special cabinet to co-ordinate and oversee the reconstruction of the country following Hurricane Mitch.
The cabinet, headed by Flores, will comprise public works transport and housing minister Tomas Lozano, international co-operation minister Moises Starkman, finance minister Gabriela Nunez and Flores' deputy Gustavo Alfaro.
Speaking exclusively to NCE, Lozano said the cabinet's top priority was to reopen major roads and bridges as quickly as possible. International military helicopters sent to the region after Hurricane Mitch were already starting to leave.
It will then concentrate on re-establishing clean water supplies and sanitation, repairing agricultural infrastructure and providing low-cost housing.
'We have a lot of problems of all types at the moment,' said Lozano. 'We have had 98 bridges destroyed partially or totally on the main highways, and many are out of action on the secondary roads. The water services and sewers are very badly damaged in 19 cities, and 70% of our agricultural production has been destroyed.'
A national reconstruction masterplan will be developed over the next few weeks. Lozano said the cabinet would 're-evaluate Honduras' economic policy and prioritise those projects most important to the recovery,' as well as co-ordinating international help.