Wednesday, May 26, 1999 Published at 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Hurricane Mitch devastation 'man made'
El Salvador: Similar scenes were repeated across Central America
By Science Reporter Helen Briggs
Hurricane Mitch was the most deadly hurricane to strike the Western hemisphere in two centuries.
Various factors were blamed at the time, including torrential rain.
Now researchers in the UK have analysed data from a rain gauge in southern Honduras that survived the storm.
Writing in the journal Nature, they say rainfall was not exceptional for the time of year, and suggest that other, mainly artificial factors, were largely responsible for the devastation caused:
And there is little consolation for those still suffering from the trail of destruction left by Mitch.
The scientists say it is possible that without better land use in the area and improved warning systems for hurricanes, the same thing could happen again.