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Sep 2, 2016

Crooked Tree Health Center’s Verandah Collapses; Health Ministry Promises Replacement

In the village of Crooked Tree, Belize District, health authorities had to take matters into their hand when part of the building housing the clinic caved in. The facility was built years ago and had deteriorated considerably. On Wednesday, the verandah came crashing down. A six year old was playing under the verandah, but fortunately for him, he was unhurt. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Crooked Tree Health Center situated near the entrance to the village has been closed off to residents indefinitely. The notice came after a portion of the verandah to the upper flat collapsed to the ground.  Luckily, it wasn’t a clinic day so residents were not lined up underneath thereby avoided being crushed by the concrete debris. Sherna Adolphus says her six-year old son, Abraham Dawson, was playing below when the verandah gave way.

 

Sherna Adolphus

Sherna Adolphus, Resident

“I mi deh home di sit down ina my sofa and my mind just run pan Abraham. When I holla fi Abraham, I see Abraham jump like when yo woulda jump hopscotch and I jump up. And when I jump up, I hear like a screaming over yah, but dah di man weh live up deh, nurse husband. And when I look, I see the verandah bruk down and my son run from under there when ih done bruk down.”

 

Duane Moody

“So he was nearly crushed by it?”

Sherna Adolphus

“Yes by the verandah for the Crooked Tree Health Center.”

 

Adolphus says that the back step to the upper flat was rebuilt because it collapsed before the verandah did.  But the building remains a hazard: the posts are brittle and breaking away and the roofing to the verandah is in bad shape with cracks on the walls. Regional Manager for the Central Health Region, Doctor Javier Zuniga says that the structure was improperly built over three decades ago.

 

Dr. Javier Zuniga, Regional Manager, Central Health Region

“Unfortunately, from the onset when that building was erected, it wasn’t built properly. It was built poorly; the materials that were used were not appropriate at that time. The building itself has about thirty years now and little by little it has been deteriorating. What we have been trying to do is to get an engineer to look at the building to assess if the building as safe or not. Unfortunately, it was difficult to identify some funds to get that done and the end part of the verandah, the upstairs verandah fell yesterday, which we are also aware of.”

 

Javier Zuniga

Doctor Zuniga says that an assessment of the damages has been done. The facility has been closed and the services have been moved to another building located in front of the health center. The upper flat of the building is occupied by the resident nurse and her family and Doctor Zuniga says that even though they are strapped for cash, the building will be repaired or replaced.

 

Dr. Javier Zuniga

“The services that we offer there are primary healthcare services. It is run by a rural health nurse and we see both services for family and community health, primarily, but we also have medical services that are also attended to there. We have a schedule for mobile clinics and that is done at least once a month in that village and that is to see any medical conditions or also any chronic patients in that community. So the services will not stop, but just moved temporarily until we can get the building assessed or repaired of needed. Or if we cannot use the building, then we will have to find another option for the time being.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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