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Sunday, November 8, 1998 Published at 03:20 GMT

World: Americas

Eyewitness: Aid effort in action

The Choluteca River flows south through the capital Tegucigalpa

By Tom Gibb in Choluteca, southern Honduras

The first commercial airlines carrying provisions pledged by President Clinton have arrived in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.

But distributing supplies to the worst affected areas depends on repairing the roads and it is going to take an enormous amount of money and effort to rebuild this country.

Here on the edge of the southern city of Choluteca the river completely changed its course - most of the water from the whole of southern Honduras washed through here.

There are 15 bulldozers working in front of me, they've been at it for four days but they still have a long way to go before the road will be useable again.

At least food, fuel and drinking water can get through here by road now.

There are hundreds of people carrying meagre supplies back home on their heads - thousands of people here have lost their homes. They say they've been helped by neighbours, and certainly there's a strong sense of solidarity here which bodes well for the future.

Many other areas, however, remain cut off, reliant on the airlift which is only slowly picking up speed.

The greatest fear is that epidemics will break out because of the lack of drinking water. There have already been some isolated reports of cholera and typhoid.

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