HURRICANE IRIS LEAVES 22 DEAD AND OTHERS MISSING
Thousands of people are homeless, at least 22 are dead and 6 others are unaccounted for as a result of hurricane Iris. The loss of property and crops in Southern Belize, the area that was severely hit by hurricane, amounts to millions. Since yesterday, emergency aid has been reaching the hurricane victims in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts. Residents in other parts of the country have pledged their support and are donating generously. Tons of food and clothing will is today being transported to the affected areas. This morning we spoke with Minister and Area Representative, Marcial Mes, who is calling on Alcaldes and Chairpersons to organize themselves in groups and for concerned Belizeans to continue donating to this worthy cause.
We also spoke with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry National Security, Allan Usher, who also serves on NEMO'S search and rescue committee. He says a damage assessment exercise of the affected areas has been done. Usher adds that NEMO is in the process of setting up 2 central distribution areas.
The other suggested distribution center is the Julian Cho High School in the Toledo District. Love FM was informed that Hurricane Iris destroyed 95 percent of houses in 35 villages in the Toledo District. Additional security forces were sent to work and the Southern Districts. In addressing the nation in the aftermath of hurricane Iris, Prime Minister, Said Musa, it had a devastating impact on Southern Belize. He announced that reconstruction work started immediately after, as well as search and rescue.
The affected area has also been declared a disaster area. Prime Minister Musa continues by saying that once again Belize suffered greatly, but the people are strong and with the help of international aid, Belize will rebound from this devastation.
BELIZE RED CROSS SOCIETY CONTINUES TO ORGANIZE ITS RELIEF EFFORTS
A team of international delegates is already in the country assessing the damage. Yesterday, the Red Cross sent its first truckload of food and clothing to hurricane victims in the Stann Creek District. This morning, another truck loaded with emergency supplies left Belize City enroute to Stann Creek. These supplies will be distributed among hurricane victims in the rural areas. Another team of Red Cross officials is also in Punta Gorda assessing the damage, after which they will immediately draft an extended plan of action.
UNITED STATES OFFICE OF FOREIGN DISASTER ASSITANCE OFFERS FUND TO NEMO
The United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) says it will make available 1 hundred and 50 thousand dollars to the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO. This information was relayed today by US Ambassador to Belize, Russell Freeman, to Prime Minister, Said Musa. An OFDA disaster relief team arrived in the country yesterday and is helping NEMO officials in assessing damages in the wake of Hurricane Iris. In addition, Ambassador Freemen has also authorized the immediate disbursement of 50 thousand dollars from the Ambassador's Emergency Relief Fund, bringing the total amount to 2 hundred thousand dollars. Also this morning, Love FM was informed that the Government of Quintana Roo has sent 8 truckloads of supplies and providing helicopter services to air life supplies to hurricane victims. The Mexican Government is expected to send additional aid. Assistance has also been received from the Taiwanese Government in the form of food supplies and funding.
MINISTER OF HEALTH OF MEXICO MEETS WITH MINISTER OF HEALTH OF BELIZE
The Minister of Health for the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico, Lorenzo Armando Reyes Dorantes met with Belize's Minister of Health Jose Coye today in Belmopan.
Reyes Dorantes have offered Belize three medical Brigades, which consist of one doctor, a nurse and a public health technician. Two Brigades have been deployed to Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. A third Brigade which is expected to arrive in Belize today will be deployed to Bella Vista in the vicinity of Independence Village which was in the path of Hurricane Iris.
The medical Brigades are equipped with water treatment chemicals and other medical supplies.
INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK HANDS OVER CHEQUE TO BELIZE RED CROSS
The Inter-American Development Bank today handed over a cheque of 100,000. Bz$ to the Belize Red Cross to assist in immediate emergency relief for the people affected by the devastating hurricane Iris, which crossed the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts earlier this week.
The cheque was handed over to Mrs. Audrey Courtenay, Chairperson of the disaster Management Committee of the Belize Red Cross. The donation will assist in the provision of relief supplies, particularly food, water and basic necessities for the people in the disaster area.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN CAHMBER OF COMMERCE OF BELIZE OPENS RELIEF FUND
The Board of Directors and members of the American Chamber of Commerce of Belize offers its warmest thanks to all Belizeans who extended their thoughts and prayers for all who suffered in the terrorist attack against the United States on September 11, 2001.
The American Chamber has set up the World Trade Center Victim Relief Fund at Barclays Bank, account number 75-1009747. Anyone wishing to contribute to the relief effort may deposit funds directly to the account, or mail a check in the same name to the offices of the American chamber, 13 Cork street, P.O. Box 75, Belize City.