From The Reporter...Sept. 14, 2001

Belizeans missing - families pray

The terror at the Twin Towers has some Belizean families concerned for their loved ones who either worked at the World Trade Center or in the Manhattan area. At least one Belizean has also been confirmed among the missing at the Pentagon in Washington DC.

Alva Jeffries, who worked on the 96th floor of tower number one, has not been heard from since the morning of the attack. The first plane hit her building just one floor away. Her family can only hope she somehow made it out safe but has not been able to contact them for some reason.

The Belize Mission in New York says another Belizean, Pat Saldano, worker in the Trade Center, but they are not sure about his employer. Anyone knowing which company he worked for is asked to contact the Mission so they can check the lists posted by the various firms.

Phillip Martinez, employed at the Pentagon in Washington DC, has also been reported among the missing there.
There are unconfirmed reports that a Belizean may have been aboard one of the hijacked planes.

Belize's Ambassador to the UN, Stuart Leslie, has stated in phone interviews with local media that there are questions about a number of other individuals, but these have not yet been confirmed with family members so their names cannot be released.

It is a frightening time too for Belizeans trying to locate friends and family who worked near the Trade Center. Problems with the phone system have prevented people from making contact so far.

Silvia Leonardo, who was just in Manhattan a few weeks ago for a training seminar, has been trying since Tuesday morning to reach her aunt, Marcelina Arana Gill. She commutes daily by subway to her job on one of the streets near the towers. Leonardo says "I am very worried about her and hope she didn't go to work that day. I hope she will contact someone in Belize soon."

Several Belizeans who saw the planes hitting the buildings or experienced the chaos that followed have called Belizean radio stations such as Krem and LOVE FM to give their accounts and let their families know they are well.

It may be several days before people here can be reassured of the status of their friends and family or hear about those who have been lost.

The Belize Mission says concerned parties can email the mission at [email protected] and should provide phone numbers, addresses, names of employers or other details that would help them to try and reconnect families.

However, their ability to help may be limited since at press time the Mission in New York had been evacuated following a bomb threat. The Mission in Washington DC has also been evacuated due to its proximity to the Islamic Center.

[This message has been edited by Sandshaker (edited 09-15-2001).]