Tragedy from Mitch.
We've seen the pictures on the television: water swilling around houses - so high that the houses appeared to be sinking islands - with people standing on the roofs of these houses pleading to be rescued.
These pictures affect us and make a lasting impression because we all know at least one person who was caught in this misfortune. Hurricane Mitch Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest and most powerful hurricanes on record in the Atlantic basin, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h). The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic struck in Nicaragua and Honduras, leaving a seemingly endless trail of destruction and devastation behind it. El Salvador El Salvador (ĕl sälväthōr`), officially Republic of El Salvador, republic (2005 est. pop. 6,705,000), 8,260 sq mi (21,393 sq km), Central America. , Costa Rica Costa Rica (kŏs`tə rē`kə), officially Republic of Costa Rica, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,016,000), 19,575 sq mi (50,700 sq km), Central America. , and Guatemala have also been affected; and let's not Let's Not is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in Boston University Graduate Journal in December 1954. It was written for no payment as a favour to the journal, and later appeared in the collection Buy Jupiter. forget the previous hurricane that destroyed 70% of Puerto Rico's crop just a month earlier.
The industry has experienced the loss of life among its workers and their families; and the ravage of coffee farms, warehouses, mills, roadways, and bridges has ensured that the damage will be prolonged. In Nicaragua alone, Mitch left 4,000 dead and 900,000 homeless; 100 bridges were destroyed and therefore much of the country's 1998/99 crop will probably go unharvested due to lack of proper infrastructure. (It is estimated that in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, Nicaragua's coffee exports will inevitably be cut in half.) It has even been recommended that one area in Nicaragua be closed off and declared a national cemetery because an accurate count of the fatalities may never be reached.
Honduras bore the brunt of Mitch's destruction in Central America Central America, narrow, southernmost region (c.202,200 sq mi/523,698 sq km) of North America, linked to South America at Colombia. It separates the Caribbean from the Pacific. ; over 7,000 people died and at least 40% of the coffee crop was destroyed. In El Salvador, 250 people died and around 84,000 more were left homeless; and now about 30 - 40% of El Salvador's coffee production is estimated to be lost. Another country to suffer from the ravages rav·age
v. rav·aged, rav·ag·ing, rav·ages
1. To bring heavy destruction on; devastate: A tornado ravaged the town.
2. of Mitch was Guatemala, where some 25,000 acres were further damaged by high humidity, which encourages the growth of fungus - meaning that these trees will have to be pruned. According to the ambassadors of El Salvador and Guatemala, it will take years for these countries to rebound from this disaster.
In response to this tragedy, the staff of the Specialty Coffee Association of America The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is a trade organization for the specialty coffees industry. The SCAA seeks to set standards for growing, roasting, and brewing premium coffees. has decided to donate a total of $6,000 to relief efforts. Many other national and international associations have set up relief funds and urged their members to express support.
Although the coffee industry was shaken up quite a bit, we can now relax, knowing that our world supply can still meet our demands. But let's not forget the harsh reality still afflicting af·flict
tr.v. af·flict·ed, af·flict·ing, af·flicts
To inflict grievous physical or mental suffering on.
[Middle English afflighten, from afflight, the people of these damaged lands. Relief efforts from the coffee community are still very much needed; anything we can do will help to improves our business and those who are now poverty- and disease-stricken.
Tea & Coffee Trade Journal will continue coverage of Hurricane Mitch with an extensive report on the storm's aftermath in the February issue.