i have a couple of friends who are among this group...


Belizeans safe in Cuba in the Wake of Hurricane Wilma

24 October, 2005 - Belmopan
The Embassy of Cuba in Belize and the Ministry of Education, Youth,
Sports and Culture wish to inform all parties concerned about the status
of Belizean students in Cuba in the wake of Hurricane Wilma.

The Embassy reports that 117 optic patients and 146 students from Belize
are safe and secure in Cuba. The optic patients were relocated from
Marina Hemingway (the resort they currently reside) to a safer location
because of Hemingway's proximity to the sea.

Students at the Latin American School of Medicine have already returned
to school and those students studying Engineering at the Center at
ISPJAE remained at school.

There are presently no reports of any death(s) in the wake of Hurricane
Wilma. The Cuban Government had evacuated 693,000, of which more than
20,000 were residents living along coastline areas, particularly in
North Havana City and Pinar del Rio.

A nationwide assessment of damages is still pending but it is evident
that considerable damage exists particularly in the northern areas of
Havana and west of the Pinar del Rio province where the water surge was
record breaking. Havana City's five coastline municipalities are
flooded, reaching up to seven blocks into the City from the "Malecon".

The Cuban Government has deployed all resources and manpower to protect
those persons living along coastline areas of Havana City and to recover
from the damages brought on by Hurricane Wilma.

There are more than 100,000 service personnel with multiple means of
transportation, 960 machines and 469 portable communication equipment at
their disposal who are currently on the ground and working around the
clock to protect the citizens and places of economic interest.

The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture is pleased to
report that ALL Belizean students currently located in the affected
areas of Cuba have been contacted and accounted for. The Embassy of
Belize in Cuba will reopen as of tomorrow, Tuesday, October 25, 2005.
Parents wishing to send provisions, donations, or supplies should note
that a direct flight from Belize to Cuba is scheduled for Saturday,
October 29, 2005.

Further information can be obtained from the TACA Airlines Office at the
Philip Goldson International Airport, the Embassy of Cuba in Belize, and
the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture.