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#12317 - 10/12/01 04:18 PM Where the Donations are going
Marty Offline
Marty --

Frank and his crew should be moving along -- let me phone him now --

Ok -- here is the quick update -- just spoke with Frank.

The regular Belize screw up -- politics -- posturing for dominance -- etc
-- is in full swing now.

Nemo is "requestin" that all "donations" go to their designated warehouses
from which they will direct further distribution for those in "need". And
as you have already heard (regarding the 10,000 loaves of bread) this is resulting in major

Frank is working with those Mennonites. They are Belizean Mennonites --
experts at working with the Belizean system.

They are not having any of it! They are still operating directly giving aid
to the villages.

It never stopped raining!! A big promotion Mexican relief mission got
totally bogged down with their exotic cross country equipment.

Mexico donated two helicopters for relief efforts -- but political
bickering about what goes where first is making that only partially
effective. In short words -- some villages get to much -- some get nothing!

They do not even know where a lot of the villages worse effected are!

The Mennonites have "translators" -- remember -- many of these people speak
only Kekchi Maya -- and are "networking" to find these villages. They also
have a small Cessna in the air always -- grid working the entire area to
spot more villages.

I have no doubts -- as I said before -- that every dollar that gets to
Frank and these Mennonites will do ten times more than money going to
official relief!! (and maybe 100 times more)

This is not like Keith.

The people needing help in the worse way are not concentrated at two easy
to reach locations -- but spread over an incredible wilderness.

Creeks are raging full force due to flooding conditions -- and can't be
crossed no ways.

I suggested the "sealed" lard buckets -- throwing lines and hauling across

Frank's group is concentrating on pure basics! Basic foods, pots -- cooking
utensils -- matches -- etc. Later they will diversify into building
supplies -- etc.

The situation is quite serious -- and every cent we can get to Frank and
the Mennonites is crucial to helping this situation.

They are staying independent from all organized relief efforts -- and
striking out directly -- using on the site information -- to villages
requiring the most help. And they know exactly what is of top priority at
this time -- food!

These are mostly to villages furthest into the jungles.

Supply will be by any means possible -- but short of helicopter drops -- it
will be humans back packing supplies in -- crossing raging creeks -- etc.

There you have it --

Suggest we continue to get as much of that cash as possible to Frank -- you stay there
and get more. In a week or so -- come down and we will check out how it
worked. Recording the events as best possible for future efforts along
these same lines.

Little by little we will learn how to Aid the people that need aid the most
-- and in time.

But as far as I can see right now -- Frank and the Mennonites are the best
-- and maybe only -- way to go.

Peter Singfield
Xaibe Village
Belize Central America

[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 10-12-2001).]

#12318 - 10/12/01 04:35 PM Re: Where the Donations are going
Marty Offline
Paul Mahung, a JP and longtime radio correspondent representing the
district agrees that the situation of shelters and community centers needs
to be addressed. He says if it were not for the churches and schools, Roman
Catholic and other denominations, in many of the villages, the people would
have had no where to shelter.

"We have to get some community centers built in these communities. I hope
that is something good that can come of this."

Ten schools were destroyed and Mahung points out that it will besome time
before the children in the affected areas will be able to resume their
education. Even after the clean-up, they will be without textbooks, since
all their household belongings were lost.

He says people have been coming in a steady stream to his house to plead on
the radio for assistance for their villages, or just to relate their

"I have had grown men come in and cry, it is very hard, some people have
lost everything."

But he says the people are determined to get back on their feet. "They did
not want to come in and stay in PG afterwards, they are staying at their
homes, picking up pieces of thatch roofing, trying to salvage what little
they can, get their place back in order. They will not sit idly by waiting
for help, they are helping themselves as best they can.

"Things will get better, they will, we will make it better."

#12319 - 10/12/01 05:23 PM Re: Where the Donations are going
Marty Offline
I also either read somewhere, or heard on the news yesterday that listserve member, Valentino Shal, current Chairman of the Toledo Maya Council (or something of the sort), was appealing for everything for babies for his villages. They needed disposable diapers (villagers unable to wash clothes in the river because river contaminated), baby formula, baby clothes, bottled water, etc. etc. etc. Apparently, out of those 8,000 homeless in the Toledo District, the large majority are babies and children.

Indeed, I took a trip down to PG on Wednesday with a convoy of boats from Caye Caulker taking down relief supplies (food, blankets, water, butane tanks, shovels, rakes, etc.). On arriving in PG on Wednesday evening, a friend of a friend drove us up to San Pedro Columbia, home village of one of the hicacenos on the convoy with us. It was horrendous. There was damage everywhere, but what was more awful to look at were the babies sleeping naked on wet cement - no clothes, no homes. Each rainstorm means a wet bed for everyone.

I watched the Channel 7 news today (repeat of yesterday's evening news) and
several things the announcer said struck me:

1. Caye Caulker and San Pedro, small communities in the scope of things,
have RUSHED out immediately to offer assistance to the victims of the

2. More than 10,000 homeless now - 8,000 in the Toldeo District (villages).

3. People still missing, unaccounted for: 2 people from Monkey River, I
believe, who were washed away with their house. Bodies have not been
recovered and people are still missing. And another 6 people in another
house somewhere else that was also washed away. Those people are also still
missing. 22 deaths total so far on the Wave Dancer - not 20.

Wendy Auxillou

[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 10-12-2001).]


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