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Oct 30, 2010

Hurricane Richard sheds light on poverty

The official estimate of the damages of Hurricane Richard has now increased to close to fifty million dollars. The latest assessment says that damage to housing is fourteen point five million dollars and to agriculture, the figure is thirty-four point seven million dollars.  The destructive force of the hurricane displaced many families in the south side, leaving them homeless. The victims have stories of true and personal experiences and their endurance is remarkable. News Five’s Jose Sanchez today met three families struggling to survive.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Hurricane Richard battered the country.  The coastal areas on the South Side of Belize City have been particularly damaged. The wind ripped roofs off buildings and has now spotted an unflattering albeit bright light on poverty in the old capital.

{woman lamenting and crying}

The shock of the loss of her home reverberates through Emogene Trapp who can only look at the rubble which is only a ghost of the life she had a week ago.

Emogene Trapp, Homeless

“Ih mi got toilet, kitchen and the room part.

Jose Sanchez

“And that was for your and your six year old son?”

Emogene Trapp

“Yes Sir.”

Jose Sanchez

“Now everything is gone. Have you saved anything?

Emogene Trapp

“Nothing I noh save. Everything just…nothing at all I noh save.”

Jose Sanchez

“This hurricane happened Sunday night. Where have you been Monday, Tuesday Wednesday Thursday?”

Emogene trapp

Emogene Trapp

“From Friday I gone dah Gales Point and I come back on Wednesday and when I reach and I come back home and see I have no home everything destroyed for me. I wasn’t here, I was in Gales Point.”

This forty four year old woman picks up her six year old son’s muddy school bag. They both sleep at a bus stop near the Cumberbatch Field.

Emogene Trapp

“Right now, right about now we have nowhere to sleep. I just lost. I just homeless then right now. No way to go. Nowhere to go no help from nobody. Sometime I sit up in the bus stop and sleep. The bus stop by the shed.”

Jose Sanchez

“You and your son together.”

Emogene Trapp

“We lost everything. I noh know weh fi seh. I just lost everything. I don’t know what to say. I have nothing. I don’t know where to turn where to go.”

Jose Sanchez

“How about school?”

Emogene Trapp

“Mi baby, everything destroy, school bag, everything/ Everything destroy here for mi baby. So he cant go dah school right now.”

Jose Sanchez

“So no one has come?”

Emogene Trapp

“No one has come to see me.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know you feel discouraged, but is it hard for you to leave this place and go some place to ask? Do you know who to go to for help?”

Emogene Trapp

“I don’t know who to go to for help.”

The situation is the similar at 7243 Reggae Street where Virgin Petillo tries to pick up the pieces that used to be her home. It’s a complete loss for this mother who has children attending school.

Virgin Petillo, Lost Home in Hurricane Richard

“Myself and my two kids live right up here and we lost everything—clothes everything; we only save little bit of clothes.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you and you kids where are you staying?”

Virgin Petillo

virgin petillo

“Right now we are staying at their aunt house.”

Jose Sanchez

“And is it soemtihng that you can do indefinitely?”

Virgin Petillo

“Well right now I don’t have anything to do so she encourages me and she tell me that she don’t mind I can stay until someone come and see how they can help me and thing.”

Jose Sanchez

“How are your kids managing in school?”

Virgin Petillo

“Yeah one goes to high school. I have three kids, but one is with my mother and two stay with me. They lost their books. Just three of my daughter’s uniforms save and three of my son’s school uniform.”

Early in the mornings, Abel Craig walks to a public water stand to full two one gallon bottles of water for his mother and younger brother.  Bernadette Craig says they once lived in this dilapidated building in the park bordered by the Yabra vault.

Bernadette Craig, Hurricane Victim

“I was living right here in old bruk up house. It bruk up for years. I lost everything; if you look inside you could see the bed the mattress everything wet up. I don’t live here no more because there is nowhere in there that I can stay with my kids. We stay at Racecourse Street where we beg lodging. We can’t stay there no long time because people don’t tolerate people too long so we noh have nowhere to stay.”

Jose Sanchez

“When it comes to your daily life—food, water.”

bernadette craig

Bernadette Craig

“Well we don’t have that. We go and w back water. We don’t have food, we noh have wah job. The only somebody come and give us lee food is the people from human development. They bring us some groceries and some water, but we don’t have sheets, blanket, we don’t have nothing—nothing at all we don’t have.”

Jose Sanchez

“Would it be accurate to say the hurricane just highlighted a problem you had before and it just make it worse?”

Bernadette Craig

“Yes of course it made it worse because it was terrible enough, but it gone worse we don’t have nothing or nowhere now.”

But for the time being, this child will continue to make the trek for free water until Bernadette can find a permanent home.

abel craig

Abel Craig

“I want a new house, I tired ah punish. I tired ah back water cause I back water from far.”

There are hundreds more personal testimonials of poverty complicated by hurricane Richard; too many for one newscast. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

If you can provide any assistance, Emogene Trapp can be reached at 625-8326.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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7 Responses for “Hurricane Richard sheds light on poverty”

  1. Edith says:

    It’s just a sad situation. Southside was always poor now its sickening. I vwush more people would help.

  2. belizeanrebel says:

    Really? did we need a natural disaster to “shed light” on poverty? Are you for real? How long have you had your eyes closed? Or did you OYE after the 2008 general elections? Come on people!!!

    Maybe you should have a new show called OYE & SYM . . . .Open your eyes and shut your mind!!!

  3. rootsman says:

    Poverty should be no secret in Belize and never was, Belize as a country however is a very rich country when travelling outside of Belize you can really tell that there is wealth in the country however that wealth is very inadequately distributed and the resolution for most issues in Belize always takes one back to politics and the games our politicians plays on the people and if they refuse to take that blame well then I would have to say that they are just a bunch of Educated jack asses, considering that Belize barely has a population of 300,000 people which one can easily cover driving around a few blocks in a major U.S. metropolitan city or something close to 3 sold out NFL football stadium games to put it in perspective, now tell me why these greedy, jackass politicians cannot stream line things enough to be able to come up with enough programs that will be able to at least eliminate a lot of the imports that we receive in the country and have those products manufactured locally in order to create jobs for the people there, we can start with a program that will utilize all these talented women that once worked at Williamson Industries that make the world renowned Dickies Jeans that most Belizean languished so much to wear. Sorry that the previous administration ran Williamson out of the country by being such bull headed @#$%^ and refusing to offer this company the necessary concessions that would have allowed them to be competitive enough to keep their operations in Belize now all these women are out of work and the GOB has done nothing to help them to get back on their feet, I say set up a program that will manufacture clothing in the country and take the tariff on clothing through the roof just like you have done on Beer to protect that industry since when alcohol is a more important commodity than Clothing talking about having your priorities in order no wonder we have so many alcoholics in Belize hanging around the Chinese shops. I can go on and on about things this government can do to improve quality of life in Belize but hopefully this will open their eyes and allow them to start thinking and to remove their brain from where it don’t belong.

  4. Proud says:

    I really hope that the monies we get from foreign reach out to these poor people.

  5. tobelizeanrebelufool says:

    our eyes were always open. just that no one seem to care, not UDP not PUP. but the hurricane shows a hell of a lot of poverty in the city. its poor people who suffer from the hurricane. its poor people who live in cardboard boxes for homes. the governor general wrote a story years ago about london bridges and the politician Jonas parker the silver tongue talker, who promise to help but do nothing. how many different governments have we had since that story? Yes it does open the eyes on somethign that has been forgotten,or at least they want us to forget until election day.

  6. Earl Grey says:

    GOD IS WATCHING how we treat those who are the least amoung us.

    GIVE FREELY THAT ye may receive……… REMEMBER……..what goes around comes around.

  7. fel says:

    life is hard in Belize an the hurricane definitely made it worst. even in this difficult times the necessary supplies that are being donated such as wood, zinc, and food aren’t reaching the people that really need it. the material are being used to make the rich man make a better home while the poor sleeps on the street. what the people in authority need to do is to monitor the distribution of the supplies much better so that the people that really needs it the most receive and benefit.

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