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Jun 27, 2016

Massive Relief Effort Launched in Wake of Fire

The families displaced by the fire are looking for basic necessities following the horrible fire. They lost everything in the blink of an eye. In the island, relief efforts have started, but it will take some time to recover from the tremendous losses. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, San Pedranos are coming together to assist victims with shelter, as well as food and clothing.  A total of eighty-eight persons have been displaced by the conflagration and are in need of basic necessities.  Leading the effort and coming to their aid is the San Pedro Lions Club.  Since this morning, members of the organization have been doing their part to raise funds and collect various items to donate to the fire victims.


Nigel Belisle

Nigel Belisle, Incoming President, San Pedro Lions Club

“There are about eighty-eight fire victims that lost everything they had and what Lions normally does, we are an N.G.O.   We are a non-government organization where we try to assist fire victims and people that are sick and what we are doing today is that we are asking the entire community, whoever, if they have clothes or anything they can donate they can bring it here at the Lions Club and the victims can come here and get whatever they need.  Whatever we can assist with that is what we are trying to do for them.”


Well-known businessman Abel Dorado, proprietor of El Dorado’s Store, has lost everything.  Despite the property being insured, its contents were not covered.


Abel Dorado

Abel Dorado, Fire Victim

“My residence and my store burnt to the ground.”


Isani Cayetano

“Do you have any kind of insurance?  What are we looking at in terms of the overall damages?”


Abel Dorado

“Mein, it’s a good amount.  Well the house was insured but my goods weren’t insured so… I had my store well stocked so I took a great loss. Actually the fire department took a little while to come in and they just had water, yes, on the truck, but eventually that ran out in less than half an hour I would say and the water from WASA didn’t have enough power to go through the truck and there was no water in the building.  There was no power from WASA, noh.”


The magnitude and sheer impact of the damages begs a serious question about the island’s preparedness for such a disaster.


Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Representative

“We met at three o’clock this morning, NEMO San Pedro, we met three o’clock this morning to discuss more or less what we will do and this morning we had an assessment as to what the report is over there.  We have informed central NEMO Belmopan as to what happened.”


Why isn’t there a better facility for the massive infrastructure development that is San Pedro and why do they have to rely so heavily on the bucket brigade?


Manuel Heredia Jr.

“We have to be sincere when things of this nature happen and I believe that yes there is need for improvement.  We have seen that every time there is a major fire we are faced with certain problems.  Nonetheless, I must applaud the people that are always cooperative, they are always over there immediately responding.  We had hundreds of people over there.  Again, the fire brigade helped a lot but one or two businesses also came with their portable pumps over there and that also helped.  But everybody putting their resources together we made it happen, otherwise it could have been a catastrophe.”


Fortunately, there was no loss of life.  From a humanitarian perspective, residents of the island have been pouring out to assist as best as they could.  The effort has been tremendous.


Nigel Belisle

“This has been very overwhelming and thing and everybody is really coming out and supporting the victims and I give thanks to the entire community of San Pedro and we’re also getting assistance from people throughout the country, the Lions Club from Belmopan, from Orange Walk, Belize City.  Everybody is taking part in this drive that is happening here today.”


Manuel Heredia Jr.

“With all the Lions, N.G.O.s, San Pedro Town Council and myself, we are making sure that we can collect as much food, clothing and so forth from the community itself.  Already some of the hotels have pledged rooms for those people that do not have friends or families and a number of restaurants have also pledged to donate food in the meantime, for at least the first three days and from there we will see what else we can do for these families.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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