Not since the Great Hurricane of 1780 was there a more deadly hurricane than Hurricane Mitch. Mitch struck Central America on October 17, 1998 with such force that it was nearly a week before the magnitude of the disaster began to reach the outside world. In Honduras alone, the death toll was over 6,500 with 11,000 still missing and more than 1.5M left homeless.
The President of Honduras, Carlos Flores Facusse, claimed the storm destroyed 50 years of progress. In addition to the human toll, the structural damage was devastating. Infrastructure was rendered non-existent, whole villages were washed away and an estimated 70-80% of transportation infrastructure were destroyed. The majority of the country’s bridges and secondary roads were washed away. Airports were under water. Most rescues required helicopter evacuation. Survivors were still clinging to rooftops a week or more after the storm.
70% of crops were destroyed, including most of the banana crop. Large warehouses and storage rooms for coffee were flooded. Maize and corn crops were devastated. The damage by Mitch to Honduran agricultural production will take years to reverse.
The Children’s Rescue Mission (CRM) was founded in 1998 in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. The first mission trip was made in 1999 and funded by a private $5,000 donation to provide medical aid to the children. The mission initially occupied a borrowed room in a local Teupsasenti residence and served 12 children. While CRM has grown over the years, it is just beginning to make a difference in the lives of the children and villagers of Teupasenti. CRM’s focus is on longer term objectives to develop sustainable infrastructure for jobs in industry and farming leading to sustainable self reliance through education, vocational training, water purification, sanitation and adequate health care.
Founder Miguel Giron, himself a Honduran immigrant from Teupasenti, manages CRM from its Norwalk, Connecticut headquarters with the assistance of a volunteer Board of
Directors. CRM is supported by short-term missionaries, various North American churches and volunteer organizations, and by the gifts and donations from individuals.
With these donations and the sweat-equity of the villagers and volunteer missionaries, CRM has constructed a Mission Home which accommodates up to 20 visiting missionaries and donors with a Mission Kitchen which provides jobs while supplementing food production for feeding the hungry villagers. The Mission Home and adjacent Church and Education Center serve as a beacon of hope for thecommunity.
To date, CRM serves eight villages and barrios throughout the valley. Pavilions are being built to provide a place where children and families can meet, learn and have a meal. Pavilions have been completed in the villages of San Jose de Portrero and Rodeo, with several more planned and awaiting funding.
The goal of the Children’s Rescue Mission is to first offer relief, then education to help the villagers become self-reliant, and to empower them to have choices for their