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Keywords: emergency relieffood crisiswatoto
Other countries: > Country Profiles

Area: 112,492 sq km
Population: 7.5 million
Languages: Spanish, English
Religions: Christian
GNI per capita: US$1,800
Currency: 1 lempira = 100 centavos
Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. 
The country is made up almost entirely of mountain terrain. Nearly three-quarters of the inhabitants live in mountain valleys, with 40 percent in urban areas and 60 percent in rural settings.
The climate along the coastal plains is semitropical, but temperatures are cooler in the mountains. The dry season (November to April) is sunny and hot. During the rainy season (May to October), some leave their homes because of the threat of flooding.
Honduras is at risk for natural disasters during tropical storm seasons, when hurricanes threaten the land and people. In the fall of 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused widespread, devastating damage to Honduras. At least 5,000 people were killed and 70% of the country's crops were destroyed. The damage was estimated at $3bn, setting development back by decades.
Honduran society is rife with economic inequality. Malnutrition, poor housing and infant diseases are widespread. 
The rough terrain in Honduras has limited the development of a transportation network, keeping much of the rural population isolated. For this and other reasons, non-urban areas and even some cities lack schools, water and power systems, health care, and adequate housing.
Thousands of Hondurans leave the country each year, most of them for the US. The money sent home by the overseas workers is an important source of income for many families.