For many lower income families of San Pedro and Caye Caulker who had
their uninsured homes literally blown or washed away, their dilemma has
been a tough one: rebuild a shack with some salvaged plywood and zinc or
await an uncertain future in a group shelter or with relatives on the
mainland. Today government unveiled plans to discourage haphazard
rebuilding by making available financing to purchase prefabricated
houses that were originally to be erected at the new community near La
Democracia on the Western Highway. At the same time measures are being
taken to assist people while they wait for their new homes to go up.
Since hurricane Keith, the people who lost their houses on both San
Pedro and Caye Caulker have been staying with family and friends on the
cayes, while others have moved to the mainland. Today, the victims who
reside in Caye Caulker got the opportunity to take advantage of a
programme that will provide temporary shelters at no cost to them.
Fermin Marin, Chairman, Caye Caulker
"Well the people that will be utilizing the shelter here are the people
who lost their homes especially in the west side as you've seen before,
most of them that lost their houses, these are the people that we are
taking first priority to assist in getting a shelter over their heads. A
kitchen where they can provide some warm food. We have a well which will
be providing clean water to bathe and we will also be bringing water
containers here so that they can have good drinking water."
The Barracks was built by the BDF and a number of voluntary groups who
gave up their time to come to the island. Construction started shortly
after Keith passed and today a number of people were making plans to
"Since this morning seven to eight families have signed up to move into
these temporary shelters. It is expected that a total of twenty families
will be staying in the barracks."
Patty Arceo, Area Representative, Belize Rural South
"Well the contract that they signed was that we're putting up
guidelines. The housing project has to be kept clean and up to a certain
standard. The next thing is that that the land where we are belongs to
Louise Aguilar and she was more than happy to give it to us so that we
can work with our people. The contract is for three months. During these
three months we are providing these people with utilities, rental free
rooms, a communal kitchen right here with butane gas, food items, with
sleeping bags and personal; hygiene packages for all of them here."
The residents we spoke with were only too happy to finally have a space
of their own.
Roselle Joseph, Hurricane Victim
"Very relieved. I had my four kids, but their father took two of them to
his hometown so they could attend school. They are a set of twins, a boy
and a girl. I have a little girl that's two years old and a baby boy
that's two months and three weeks. My roof came off and most of my
clothes and my bed was destroyed."
"Where has the family been staying."
"First we were staying at Tom's Hotel, then from there we had to move,
so the Seaview Hotel provided us with a with a house."
Gerardo Allen, Hurricane Victim
"I signed the contract because at the moment I need the place and by
three months I think I will be through with my own house and I could
move into my new home."
While the residents get ready to move into the temporary shelter, they
are also being asked to look after their properties...do whatever clean
up that needs to get done and take advantage of the housing programmes
that have been designed specifically for them.
Dickie Bradley, Minister of Housing
"A full programme in terms of having funds available to construct, to
build through the Development Finance Corporation, through utilizing
materials which were originally were brought in for the sate little
city, which will be brought out on the islands and be accessible to the
residents who are ready at that time to start to build back their dream
homes on the islands."
Today, Bradley and Arceo met with the residents of San Pedro to address
whatever concerns they may have. In the meantime the San Pedro Town
Board has rented a large building to provided temporary housing for
Two hundred homes have been earmarked for San Pedro and one hundred for
Caye Caulker. In addition to the prefab wooden housing units, residents
can also opt for different types of concrete homes, also with financing