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Dec 14, 2017

Residents Begin Picking Up the Pieces

While details are being provided as to what may have caused the deadly explosion at the quarry in Santa Elena, residents in the nearby area are attempting to get back on their feet.  Today, Belize Roadway Construction Limited, which subcontracted Tiger Aggregates to carry out the mining, was on the ground collecting information from affected persons with a view of providing assistance to them within forty-eight hours. News Five’s Duane Moody was also on the ground and has the following report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, residents in the Santa Cruz area of Santa Elena Town continue to literally pick up the pieces of their houses that were extensively damaged by missiles from Tuesday’s explosion.  Fourteen houses were extensively damaged and some twenty more within the blast’s radius were slightly damaged on the roofs and windows. Seven vehicles were also totaled in the explosion.  For the past two nights some residents have been left exposed to the elements; in the immediate aftermath they sought assistance to recover what has been lost.

 

Reymundo Espinosa

Reymundo Espinosa, Resident, Santa Elena

“We the neighborhood who get damage by this explosion, we would like to know if there will be somebody who will come and look at our damage and help us. We work hard to build our houses.  I would like to find out if this government would send somebody and look at our damage and look at our people are suffering right now in this area. I please ask the government to send somebody and check out houses and help us because we really need help.”

 

Marianne Foreman

Marianne Foreman, Resident, Santa Elena

“These people lost everything and they took years of struggle to actually get them where they are right now and for it to be destroyed within twenty-seconds. I don’t understand as to why these people did a bombing in a residential area; and it is not just them, there are so many people around.”

 

Juanita Vanegas, Resident, Santa Elena

“The roof noh good for nothing; the inside, mi electricity…everything brtuk up. The big stones deh ina di house.”

 

Juanita Vanegas

Duane Moody

“How many of you lived there?”

 

Juanita Vanegas

“I have four kids and myself. We di wait for the company to see what they will assist we with and what has me angry—I don’t know about the other neighbors, but what has me angry—dah because they not even come assist me last night. Well you know what yo have kids, we will put unu somewhere; nobody show up.”

 

Although it is not under their purview, NEMO officials did a quick assessment of the damages.  On Wednesday evening, one family was relocated to a shelter; Human Development will also provide basic assistance to affected families in the interim.

But today, the Belize Roadway Construction Limited, who won the contract to rehabilitate the George Price Highway and other roads in Santa Elena and who also subcontracted Tiger Aggregates Limited, was in the area meeting with affected residents. Attorney-at-law Rachel Montejo Juan will facilitate in the settlement of the untimely disaster.

 

Rachel Montejo Juan

Rachel Montejo Juan, Attorney-at-law

“I am in the field, assisting persons with what they should provide and as soon as possible so that we can minimize their losses. The weather is going to be changing on Saturday and I think you guys have seen that. So we are just trying to see how we can do with tarps and data collection, evidence collection and dealing with payouts.  The company is going to cover the financial liability as best as it can. They also have insurance with RF&G and they have also spoken to RF&G and so what we are going to do is to facilitate those persons to provide what the insurance company would need and then it will be up to the company to take it into their claims department and to manage the applications that we will be putting forward.”

 

Duane Moody

“So for those who have been affected, what are some of the requirements that they will need to present?”

 

Rachel Montejo Juan

“A copy of their land title or their land lease; their social security card. If someone is house sitting for somebody in United States, for example, perhaps a power of attorney. All those things I can facilitate so that those persons can have the power of attorney signed and sent to me as soon as possible. But I’ll be in my office as well receiving these applications and working to prepare these documents the way the insurance company would wish to receive them.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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