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Habitat for Humanity helps rebuild the lives of 4000 families in Central America affected by Hurricane Stan

San José, Costa Rica (20 October, 2005) – Leaders of the Habitat for Humanity programs in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador are developing strategies to help at least 4000 families affected by Hurricane Stan.

The Habitat for Humanity programs in these three countries are developing response strategies that address the needs of current Habitat homeowners as well as thousands of others impacted by the flooding and landslides. The disaster response plans will include new house construction as well as home repairs and restorations. Strategies will include the creation of low-cost house designs, innovative credit-subsidy schemes, alliances with building material providers, and new land acquisition and development. Habitat is seeking to work in alliance with other local and international organizations in bringing these solutions.

The Disaster in Numbers




El Salvador***









Houses destroyed



Houses damaged




HFH houses destroyed




HFH houses damaged








People directly affected




Funds necessary to rebuild houses and infrastructure

US$ 5,300M

US$ 1,860M


*(13 Oct, 2005) Nacional Coordinator of Disaster Reduction (Conred).
**(13 Oct, 2005) Rubén Aguilar, presidencial spokesperson
***(12 Oct, 2005) Nacional Emergency Committee

In Mexico, more than 173,000 houses were damaged and nearly two million people in five states were directly affected by Hurricane Stan. The hurricane is responsible for at least 36 deaths, 499 municipalities (nearly 3000 communities) in a state of emergency due to 107 rivers that overflowed their banks.

Since it beginning in 1987, Habitat for Humanity Mexico (HFHM) has helped build more than 15,000 families (approximately 75,000 people) acquire a decent house. HFHM has worked in more than 1,000 communities via 19 affiliates (local offices) throughout the Mexican territory.

Thanks to a network of corporate, governmental and civic partners, HFHM´s response to Hurricane Stan anticipates facilitating at least 800 housing solutions in the affected areas in the first twelve months.

In its wake, Hurricane Stan left more than 8000 houses damaged and nearly 4500 houses destroyed. Also, 652 are reported dead (not counting the approximate 1400 buried in landslides in the Panabai region), 99 wounded, 577 missing – a total of nearly 140,000 people directly affected by the disaster. According to government figures, approximately US$5 billion is needed for the reconstruction of housing and infrastructure.

Habitat for Humanity Guatemala, founded in 1980, has helped more than 100,000 people through the construction of more than 20,000 houses. HFHG organizations consists of a national office and 22 affiliates (covering every state) that serve approximately 400 communities. On average, HFHG builds nearly 3000 new homes per year, though it has the capacity to build even more. Currently HFH Guatemala is assessing overall damage in the communities it serves, and is designing a national response strategy.

El Salvador
In El Salvador, weather conditions allowed more than 20,000 people temporarily in shelters to return to their homes. However, more than 40,000 Salvadoran remain in the shelters.

Today, more than 25,000 people in this country live in houses built by Habitat for Humanity El Salvador. The organization has 8 regional offices with an operational presence nearly 200 communities – covering nearly 80% of the country. After the earthquakes in 2001, HFH ES increased their ability to build or repair houses in response to disasters.

Now, in response to Hurricane Stan, HFH ES is planning to build or repair at least 500 houses.

Habitat for Humanity traditionally brings families in need together with volunteers to build complete houses, which are then sold to the families using a no-profit mortgage. Money from those house payments is used to build additional houses within the same community.

However, facing urgent needs in the face of disasters, Habitat for Humanity has developed innovative solutions to allow for greater impact, and to address the needs of a greater number of families in a shorter period of time. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, for example, houses are being built by Habitat for Humanity affiliates throughout the United States, before being disassembled and shipped to families in affected areas.

¨Habitat for Humanity’s traditional system of building works very, very well¨, said Torre Nelson, Area Vice President of Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean. ¨But the need for housing is so great, and so varied, and so overwhelming, that we need to continually look for new and innovative ways to address that need. What’s important is that every child in the world has a simple, decent and safe place to call home¨|

For more information, please contact Steve Little, Communications Director for Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean, at 506 296-8120 ext 6119 e-mail . (Please note that this phone number is located in San Jose, Costa Rica.)

For El Salvador contact, Claudia García, Coordinador of Resource Development, Email:, Phone. (503) 503 2298 3290/1 ext. 109 -110

For Guatemala contact, Sharon Petrie, International Donor Manager, E-mail:,, Phone (502) 7763 5308, Cel: (502) 5563 1293

For México contact, Maria Esther Vázquez, Director of Resource Development, Email:, Tel. (52) 55 55 14 12 12 ext. 217

Habitat for Humanity´s Latin America/Caribbean office is located in San Jose, Costa Rica. Habitat for Humanity is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ, and welcomes all people to participate in the elimination of poverty housing. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses in nearly 100 countries, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than one million people. For more information, visit