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Oct 26, 2016

Houses for Collet Residents, Three Months after Hurricane Earl

Hurricane Earl swept through the Belize District in early August, leaving in its wake millions of dollars in damages.  There have been significant relief efforts in the aftermath of the natural disaster and government continues to play a critical role in helping victims to restore a sense of normalcy.  This morning, NEMO Minister Edmond Castro made the rounds in the Old Capital and handed over as many as ten houses to residents in the Collet and Albert constituencies.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The devastating effects of Hurricane Earl are still being felt in areas of the Belize District where the severe storm ravaged homes and displaced many, including residents of Collet.  Violent winds and heavy rainfall destroyed numerous structures within the community, leaving a handful of families stranded at Unity Presbyterian School, a designated shelter.  Among the homeless, Claudia Belisle and her infant son are struggling to get back on their feet, twelve weeks later.

 

Marie Arana

Claudia Belisle, Hurricane Victim

“It was horrible.  We stayed at the shelter at the school back there.  The morning when everything was good, my mother-in-law came home, she said let us wait, she gwein go check di damages of what happened to the house.  When she came back she was in tears.  She could not believe that all our stuff was gone, my house dropped completely.  My baby bed and everything wet up, wet up, wet up, cyant do nothing with den deh.”

 

Belisle is not alone.  Her mother-in-law suffered similar losses and was forced to resigned herself into taking up residence inside a shell of her former home on Laura Dunn Street.

 

Claudia Belisle

Marie Arana, Hurricane Victim

“First time I experience wahn hurricane like dis.  So everything mi gaan and ah neva save nothing.  But eventually wih haul out di wet clothes dehn, we sun dehn out fi mek dehn dry and da soh wih got something fi put pan wih back, you know.  Wi deh da shelter to the end and Human Service dehn come, dehn talk to we and we bring dehn and dehn interview we and dehn check up di house and thing.  …dehn neva wahn wi come back but we had to come back and we still stay eena di ol’ house, you know.  We stay eena it.  Di rain come [and] wet we up.  We sleep with di star [and] get up with di sun.  We sleep with di rain and get up with di sun.  Right so.”

 

Quite a difficult situation indeed.  Admittedly, the neighborhood is impoverished and residents are trying their best to make do with what they have.  So, to find one’s self in need of the basics yet again is rather discouraging.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Area Representative, Collet Division

“The Collet Constituency is one of the toughest ones, a lot of poverty is in this area and, in fact, the living conditions of many of the people who live in this extension area of our division they have a tough life.”

 

Their plight however, isn’t going unnoticed.  The Government of Belize, through the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, is working persistently to meet their needs.

 

Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport & NEMO

“What we are doing today, we are dealing with the areas in Collet and also later on this morning we are dealing with the areas of Albert Division.  So I am here today with the Deputy Prime Minister officially handing over some of the houses that were built in the Collet Division and then we go to the Albert Division and we’ll do the same thing because throughout the, in the aftermath of this hurricane we have built a significant number of houses in the Belize City area, thus improving the housing stock.”

 

Claudia and her mother-in-law, Marie Arana, are recipients of a pair of new buildings.

 

Claudia Belisle

“Dehn dah mi wahn big huge part of how we get our houses todeh and I really glad that I have my house.”

 

That appreciation is also shared by Area Representative Patrick Faber.

 

Patrick Faber

“I’m very, very pleased that we are able to hand over these very small houses.  Some people will criticize it but it is a start and it is a much more comfortable position for many of the residents in our constituency and we are grateful to NEMO, of course, and the Government of Belize for their contributions to make sure that those who were, I think many of them were living in the shelters after Hurricane Earl and so that was how they were chosen to get these homes.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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