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#453337 - 12/12/12 08:21 AM Water Filters Distributed to San Mateo
Marty Offline

The residential area of San Mateo on Ambergris Caye can most definitely be deemed the poorest subdivision of San Pedro Town as residents have a limited power supply to the area, no sewerage system, lack of proper city water and unsanitary grounds in which houses have been built on. Many organizations, businesses and individuals have been lending a helping hand to residents of San Mateo so as improve their living conditions. One such person who has taken up a project to distribute water treatment filters to families in the area is local resident Ann Kuffner.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today

#453378 - 12/12/12 03:58 PM Re: Water Filters Distributed to San Mateo [Re: Marty]
brendacamp Offline
Can someone put me in touch (email preferably) with Ann Kuffner? I belong to a Rotary Club in Tennessee and we are looking to partner on an international project. I will be in San Pedro on Dec. 20 and would love to talk with her. Thanks!
Brenda from East Tennessee

#453547 - 12/15/12 08:30 AM Re: Water Filters Distributed to San Mateo [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

San Mateo residents get help in purifying their contaminated drinking water

On Saturday December 8th, a group of San Mateo residents gathered at their local community church ready to learn how to purify their often contaminated drinking water. The San Pedro Sun has widely reported about the troubling water contamination issues in the disenfranchised community located just north of the Barry Bowen Bridge.

While most islander have heard of San Mateo, many residents have not been there personally and are always shocked to witness and learn that the children and residents of San Mateo often become ill from the bacteria present in their drinking water. In addition, San Mateo residents regularly have to walk through the wetlands that surround their homes to get to the street; in many instances this causes infection of open wounds due to contaminated water that has been further exposed to raw sewage in the surrounding wetlands.

Belize Water Services (BWS), the town’s potable water provider has desalinated water known to be pure and completely safe for consumption. So how could clean water be such an issue in San Mateo? Although BWS water is plumbed to some of the homes in San Mateo, the pipes pass through the sewage-laden wetlands beneath their homes. At times fecal bacteria leach through leaks in the pipes, contaminating the otherwise pure BWS water. High bacteria counts have also been found in the rainwater samples collected at the residents’ homes. Many residents rely upon rainwater they collect as a source for their drinking water. Many residents don’t have access to the BWS water supply which also contributes to the many issues affecting the community.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

#453600 - 12/16/12 07:48 AM Re: Water Filters Distributed to San Mateo [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

“All hands on deck” needed to clean up San Mateo says UNICEF and SPTCC

The unplanned subdivision of San Mateo just north of San Pedro Town is finally beginning to get the attention needed to address the many issues affecting the area. The residents of San Mateo, estimated to number 568, have had to endure living in very extreme conditions as a result of the lack of proper infrastructure such as electricity, water and up to recently, inadequate street access. But after being repeatedly catapulted into the media, both at home and abroad, the relevant local authorities are beginning to focus their attention on the deprived subdivision. For that reason the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) is partnering with the United Nation International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch a clean-up campaign that the organizations hope will have a long term trickle effect on the entire community.

On December 17th and 18th, UNICEF and SPTC will begin their efforts in creating a better environment for San Mateo residents. According to Denise Robateau, Early Childhood Development and Education Officer at UNICEF, she is looking to address the children’s rights to clean water, proper sanitation and hygienic education. According to Robateau, people have been treating the area of San Mateo as a “dump”. With the presence of humans, especially kids and the fact that Holy Cross Anglican Primary School is in the area, it is a must that the needs for a healthy environment and for the proper stimulation be looked at. Robateau describes the situation of San Mateo as “unique” to the entire country and said the norm in which people treat the area as if it is a “dump”, highlighting that the women and children are living in close to deplorable conditions.

The total population of San Mateo represents approximately 5% of the total populace of Ambergris Caye which stood at 11,765 in 2010. 285 males and 283 females live in San Mateo, of which, almost half (270) are children below the age of 18 years.The entire area was built on swampland and in some parts of the subdivision, stagnant water combined with the garbage used as land fill creates a putrid stench, adding to the already stressed environment which is a health hazard for the residents. According to Councilor Kenrick Brackett of the San Pedro Town Council, San Mateo is the island’s “eye sore” but he remains optimistic that working together with the private sector and UNICEF, they can turn the image of San Mateo around.

As part of its outreach program, UNICEF believes that the donation of 50 garbage bins is only a start to an even greater project to help the conditions in the area to become livable by human standards. According to Robateau, during the two days of activities, UNICEF will be providing demonstrations that will include training on proper hand washing techniques and water sanitation processes. They will also be giving away material that will help to highlight the need for sanitation, such as water bottles and garbage disposal equipment.

According to Brackett, who is the councilor responsible for sanitation and waste management, SPTC is ready to tackle the “eye sore” of San Pedro but needs “all hands on deck.” He hopes that San Mateo residents not only respond to activities geared to cleaning up the area, but the business sector, who has a vested interest in seeing that the areas with the most issues are being addressed since it is sensitive to the tourism fabric of the island. Brackett anticipates that the cleanup campaign will be a great start to a long term sanitary project not only for the area of San Mateo but for the island on a whole.

The SPTC and UNICEF invite all residents to participate in the campaign that will commence on Monday, December 17that 9AM in front of the Paradise Theater. The SPTC are expecting the presence of the Minister of Health Pablo Marin and the Minister of Education Patrick Faber at the start of the campaign.

San Pedro Sun


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