Belize Reacts to Katrina

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 36            September 8, 2005

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H urricane Katrina damaged beyond repair tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Mississippi, Alabama and New Orleans and left a significant amount of people in emergency shelters. Homes have been completely destroyed and now people are left dependent on others to help them with the basic amenities such as clothes, food and water. All around the world, communities have come together to help aid the victims in need of the devastation left behind by hurricane Katrina.

    The American Red Cross and other sister Red Cross branches are working in full force to try and cater to all victims of the tragedy. The American Red Cross has launched the largest mobilization of resources in its history for a single natural disaster. More than two hundred Red Cross shelters are housing thousands of residents who fled Katrina's wrath. More than 200 emergency response vehicles and countless other Red Cross resources are en route or on the scene to provide hot meals, snacks, bottled water and distribute other much-needed relief supplies. Belize is no stranger to times of need, but with the little that we have, we still give out a helping hand to those in need.

    The San Pedro Lion's Club has already scheduled a huge Radiothon in collaboration with the Reef Radio, to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, President of the Lions Club, Isela Graniel stated, "We are going to go door-to-door visiting homes and pleading for a contribution or donation. Every cent counts because those people are really in need." The Radiothon is scheduled for Sunday, September 11th and will begin at 10:00 a.m. This event will be held at the Lions Den and the general public is also notified that barbecue and refreshments will be on sale. All proceeds will go to help fund the relief. President Graniel ended the interview by stating, "Be aware that today it's them and tomorrow it could be us, any help will be greatly appreciated."

    The Belize Red Cross Society issued a press release dated September 1st stating the following:

    The Belize Red Cross is appealing to all Belizeans, to show solidarity with these suffering people by making generous donations to their cause.

    The Hurricane Katrina Red Cross Appeal Fund was launched today in Belize. Cash donations can be made at any of the following commercial banks throughout the country. Funds will be sent to the American Red Cross in Washington D. C. for the purpose of assisting and meeting those most in distress.

First Caribbean International Bank - A/C# 10028703
Scotia Bank - A/C# 9133246
Atlantic Bank Ltd. - A/C# 210674607
Belize Bank Ltd. - A/C# 5064373
Alliance Bank of Belize Ltd. - A/C# 1919

    Please, join the Belize Red Cross in this great humanitarian effort to relieve human suffering by giving generously.

    It is estimated that about 4,000 Belizeans live in the affected states and efforts are being made to reach as many as possible who have relocated to the Houston and other areas. The Embassy of Belize in Washington has set-up an electronic bulletin board from its website through which Belizeans can establish contact with family and friends affected by the natural disaster.

    The National Immigration and Nationality Services Department also extended its best wishes to all those affected by Hurricane Katrina and stated the following:

    The National Immigration and Nationality Services Department would like to inform all Belizeans who have relatives in the New Orleans and Mississippi area and who are planning to travel home, that the following arrangements have been made to facilitate their travel.

    Any person not in possession of a valid passport, expired passport, cancelled passport or other forms of identification can contact the Director of Immigration at the following telephone numbers, 822-2611, 822-2423, or 822-3860.

    Particulars of all persons wishing to travel can be sent to the Immigration Department at fax number: 822-2662.

    Every effort will be made to facilitate the entry of those persons into the country.

    Prime Minister Honorable Said Musa also extended his deepest condolences to both Governor of the State of Louisiana Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and President of the United States of America George W. Bush. In both letters Honorable Musa expressed his solidarity and stated the following:

[.] stand ready to render, within our limited means, any assistance in partnership with the relief efforts of your Government.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this most difficult time. Please accept, Mr. President, the assurance of my highest consideration.

A CNN Breaking News of Tuesday stated the following:
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) - New Orleans' mayor ordered law enforcement agencies Tuesday night to remove everyone from the city who is not involved in cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina, whether they want to go or not.

Mayor Ray Nagin instructed all public safety officers, "to compel the evacuation of all persons ... regardless of whether such persons are on private property or do not desire to leave," according to a written statement from his office.

    Indeed our hearts go out to all those affected by this natural disaster and invite the general public to help in any way possible our fellow men.
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