Horror stories of Hurricane Richard’s presence in Hattieville

You’ve seen the hardships for families living in tents in the Yarborough area of the Belize City but the human suffering extends to other areas. Our news crew was in Hattieville today, a community that felt the fury of the category one natural disaster. It is five days after the storm and we found a number of persons still at shelters, electricity is not yet fully restored and there is no potable water. The adversities are testing their characters and as they plough along, hope is prevailing. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Francelia Gillett, Hurricane Victim, Hattieville

“Ih really rough fu me cause I noh use to this. I use to my kids dehn deh pan dehn bed and eena comfort and ya dah noh no kinda comfort”

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Across Hattieville dozens of families have sought refuge at various shelters in the wake of Hurricane Richard. Francelia Gillett, a single mother, is lodged in this community center with her children where they will remain until further notice.

Francelia Gillett

Francelia Gillett

“I homeless me and my five kids dehn. I have a daughter di go dah Gwen Liz, my other four kids dehn di go dah primary school at the Hattieville Government School and I noh have, no assistance noh really come to we ya as wah family. The chairman yoh try talk to he [and] dah like he rough yoh up. Nobody else noh come besides Miss Rita Coleman look out fu we prison and dehn.”

Since Monday the Kolbe Foundation has aided in relief efforts for residents of Hattieville. Along with members of the village council a feeding program has been established to serve the needs of those affected. These women have created a makeshift kitchen inside a classroom here at the government school where they are preparing lunch for the many destitute families.

Sharon Mejia

Sharon Mejia, Vice Principal, Hattieville Gov’t School

“There are some people at the center, I think about thirty families at the center and they are the ones that we are dishing out the food for right now and then we have some people in the new site. We have about twenty families or so in new site that do need food, there houses have been totaled as well.”

It is high noon and Richard Welch along with his sons are busy tearing down the remains of what use to be their home since moving here a few years ago. Lunch will be served shortly but until then Welch is removing sheets of lumber from what use to be the flooring.

Richard Welch

Richard Welch, Hurricane Victim, Hattieville

“I estimate it at least twenty to thirty thousand dollars in losses in the house and household items but I don’t worry about [the] household items, I’m worried about the house cause I could always work and get back the household items but if anybody could donate anything to me I would appreciate it.”

Despite the presence of a disaster management committee residents here believe they are in the middle of a logistical nightmare. Back at the shelter, Francelia and others are contemplating what’s yet to come; for now they must live together.

Francelia Gillett

“Share with other else family ih really rough, really hard. Ih hurtful.”

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, a single parent struggling to provide for her family only to see her lifelong efforts gone with the wind. Inside her home is a jumble and the overnight rains haven’t made it any easier to salvage what’s left.

Elsewhere the Belize Red Cross is off to deliver aid to families in need of basic food items. This dilemma has been a test of Welch’s marriage. His wife, Judith Gongora, whose ‘Number One Mom’ award lies among the rubble is the source of his family’s strength.

Richard Welch

“My wife is a going church person. She is a Christian so she continues praying for us. She is the one who keeps us together. My wife is Mrs. Judith Gongora Welch alright and I have four kids so and we are struggling and going in the right way but with God. So thanks to God for giving us that strength and we are staying together and fighting it [so] that we could make our life better.”

While BEL concentrates on returning power to the area it would seem as though Welch and family has already seen the bright light at the end of the road. Reporting for News Five, Isani Cayetano.

Channel 5