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Aug 7, 2018

Relief Supplies Distributed for San Pedro Fire Victims

Fire victims in San Pedro are getting their feet back on the ground in the wake of Saturday morning’s massive fire on the island. Ten houses were gutted leaving eighty-seven persons without food and a roof over their heads. Since then, Hope Haven has been providing meals and shelter for majority of the victims, but today, NEMO and the Town Council handed out relief supplies to the persons affected. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

As early as ten-thirty this morning, the victims of this past weekend’s massive fire in the Boca Del Rio area of San Pedro Town received assistance from the National Emergency Management Organization. Truck loads of mattresses, butane tanks, table top stoves, toilet paper, health packages and cleaning supplies were handed over to the over-eighty persons who lost all their belongings to the blaze which broke on early Saturday morning as they were sleeping at home.

 

Vanessa Parham, District Emergency Coordinator, Belize Rural South

Vanessa Parham

“From since then, we have activated our EOC on the island.  We have worked in collaboration with different agencies and I must say that the support has been immense and one I am very grateful for: NEMO, San Pedro Town Council, Hope Haven, Human Development, Health, Red Cross…we’ve all been working together in collaboration for this, for the relief and supplies effort as well.”

 

The humanitarian relief effort does not directly look at the reconstruction of houses for the victims. Of the eighty-seven persons displaced, over ninety percent were renters and lost their household items which for the most part were replaced today; since they did not lose their jobs, they will allowed  three months to make time for them to find another place to rent. But what about the handful of homeowners whose lifework went up in flames? They will be assisted with rebuilding; but until then, it’s a wait game says Amilcar Veras. He had an apartment complex that housed thirty-five persons, but the property was not ensured and by law cannot be replaced.

 

Amilcar Veras

Amilcar Veras, Fire Victim

“To rebuild the house; that will be something else. I will find out tomorrow and the rest of the week, we will figure out how to start over.”

 

Duane Moody

“Your business went down—because you have an apartment complex that went down—and part of your house was destroyed. How do you rebuild?”

 

Amilcar Veras

“Well, all the business went done and we don’t have nothing; nothing at all. So it is hard for us to figure out how we will start over, but I hope that God will be with us and I think people will offer help to start to see how we could get material from them.”

Only some of the charred debris has been removed from the area by residents, but today in the Boca Del Rio area, a backhoe is parked in the area for clean up by the Town Council scheduled to commence soon. Mayor Daniel Guerrero says that several fundraising activities will take place this week for a speedy return to normalcy.

 

Daniel Guerrero

Daniel Guerrero, Mayor, San Pedro

“We are having a fundraiser on Friday; it will be a radio telethon and then of course the dollar-drive which is something big here in San Pedro. And then again the different N.G.O.s usually kick in, the big hotels, the big business establishments or the business community really kicks on. So we are hoping to generate quite an amount of money so we can help the victims. We are in the process, this morning probably an hour ago, our equipment was supposed to be on site to start cleaning up the area. And we are going to clean completely, put sand and it will be perfect to rebuild for people.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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