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Jan 31, 2001

Single moms receive hurricane relief

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Yesterday we reported that UNICEF, in cooperation with the British government, donated over two hundred and ninety thousand dollars towards refurbishing schools that were damaged by the recent hurricane. Today they continued their support to Belize by granting over sixty-nine thousand dollars to help families headed by women. Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos Garcia, accepted the cheque on the behalf of the government.

Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Min. of Human Development

“What is on display here today is only a portion of the assistance that they have offered us. A lot of the families that are receiving benefits will get benefits in kind for building materials, so we can take the few remaining families out of the shelters. Many of them that had lost their homes were not able yet to build, so there are household items, stoves, pots and pans and things like that. But as well, and perhaps more importantly is the materials for them to rebuild, so that they can get back their homes and we are very grateful to our partners for this kind donation.”

Jennifer Lovell, Director, Human Development

“Once we went out and we looked at the list of people who had been affected by the hurricane, the numbers were really overwhelming. So we came up with criteria of how to disperse the money. The first criterion was that they had to be women head of households, who had children. So we selected fifty-four women with a hundred and sixteen children among them. The second criterion is for people who live in shelters, so that the government would be close down the shelters if we were able to help these people. The third criterion was assistance for people who lost everything during the hurricane. And so we came up with fifty-four families we could assist and assist fully with what their needs were.”

Through UNICEF, funding has also been set aside to develop a social programme, which includes preventive counselling to prepare children for disasters. The first step of that effort will be a travelling art exhibit, slated for next month, chronicling the experiences of children during Hurricane Keith.

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