Monday, November 9, 1998 Published at 14:55 GMT
British aid arrives in Honduras
This was the first of several Red Cross flights to Honduras
A British Red Cross plane filled with medicine has arrived in Honduras as aid workers try to prevent the spread of disease in the wake of Hurricane Mitch.
Meanwhile a detachment of Royal Marines, based on the Navy's new helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, has begun work on the Honduras/Nicaragua border.
A combined team of British civilians and military have set up a joint operation with the Nicaraguan army to help 30,000 people stranded by flood waters in the valley of the River Coco, which forms the border between Honduras and Nicaragua.
Our correspondent in Nicaragua, Peter Greste, says reports filtering out from the area suggest entire villages are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting after drinking floodwater.
The swollen river is now almost three kilometres wide in some places.
Threat of disease
Aid workers say at least 40,000 people in the Central American region remain cut off by floods and survivors now face the threat of disease from polluted water and lack of food and shelter.
The British Red Cross cargo is worth £150,000.
On board is Ian Heigh, an emergency response manager, who is helping distribute the supplies.
Speaking before landing, he said: "These supplies are absolutely vital.
He added: "This is without doubt the worst natural disaster to hit Central America this century. These supplies are obviously a very short-term solution. Once we have solved the immediate problems of water, food and shelter, we will have to start looking at the long-term situation."
The supplies include:
The UK Government has already pledged £200,000 to the British Red Cross relief fund.
The flight is the first of several organised by the British Red Cross to Honduras and other Central American countries over the coming weeks.