Letter: Victims of Mitch

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The Independent Culture
Sir: We have been receiving news all week from our partners on the ground in the areas of Central America affected by Hurricane Mitch which emphasise the scale of the disaster and the resulting need for immediate relief and long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction.

We therefore greatly appreciate The Independent's initiative in launching its appeal so rapidly, and the message of the cartoon on Friday's leader page.

In addition to the emergency relief grants we have already made, we have also urged the British government to act further by immediately freezing all demands for debt repayment from Honduras and Nicaragua with a view to cancelling all their unpayable debts by the end of 2000, and to use all its influence to press the international community to do the same.

We believe that without the immediate suspension of payment and subsequent significant cancellation of Honduran and Nicaraguan debts, the long-term recovery of Central America from this disaster will be seriously undermined.

STEPHEN RAND

Prayer and Campaigns Director

Tearfund

Teddington, Middlesex

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