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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Relief Aid for Hurricane Victims Awaits Shipment

November 11, 1998

VERNON — Hundreds of tons of neatly packed goods, such as bottled water, medicine and food collected from Southern California donors, are sitting in a Vernon warehouse waiting to be flown to Central America to aid victims of Hurricane Mitch.

The donations have come from individuals and families throughout the region, who have donated everything from a few cans of food to boxes of supplies in short supply in hard-hit Honduras and Nicaragua.

State Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) said Tuesday he has urged President Clinton to authorize the use of California National Guard planes to fly the supplies. But so far, Polanco said, there has been no response.

"Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Defense has not given permission," said Polanco, gesturing to the supplies in a warehouse. "So while planes sit idle, children in Central America go without food. That is unacceptable."

Organizers said that a plane hired with money collected from local donations flew 40 tons of supplies for $111,000 Saturday. Arrangements are being made to hire another cargo plane.

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