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Nov 5, 1998

Red Cross receives donations

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In times of disaster people around the world rely on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. And now, just days after the Belize Red Cross staff and volunteers were themselves fleeing the possible demolition of their facility, they are packing boxes to send to hurricane victims in Honduras and Nicaragua. News Five spoke with Director of the Belize Red Cross Audrey Courtenay who says what the people need now is canned foods, since they cannot cook and medicines to deal with infections. News Five asked her how the items collected in Belize will reach the affected countries and about the public response so far.

Audrey Courtenay, Director, Belize Red Cross

“We expect that the first shipment will go out on Saturday morning. There’s a group in Belize calling themselves Belize Mercy and they have volunteered to work with the Red Cross here and in Honduras and a plane apparently has been chartered by that group. They will take our donations directly to the Red Cross. We are also working with the embassies and the other groups, the Northern Fishermen’s Cooperative. We have sent things down on their boat and we have directed people to deliver things there.

The Boy Scouts, the Scouting Association is part of the disaster management committee and they will be helping in collecting things from people who are unable to deliver to the headquarters. They will also be doing this in the districts and bringing them. Right now on the way from the Orange Walk Red Cross, they’ve held a drive in Orange Walk and the B.D.F. is collaborating with us and they are bringing in this morning. That we will send directly to the Honduran Embassy and share with the Nicaraguan president who is here too.

The response so far has been very encouraging and we ask people to continue this because we never know when Belize will be in this position. I hope God continues to be good to us, but we have to help others. And with the Red Cross our main objective is to help people who are vulnerable, and you can’t get any more vulnerable than what is happening in Honduras and Nicaragua.”

Mrs. Courtenay says the Red Cross welcomes cash donations of as little as a dollar, since it all adds up, but that they would prefer that you deposit the money directly into accounts set up at all banks in Belize City and the districts. The Red Cross says while it welcomes clothing donations they would like people to refrain from sending used undergarments. In terms of the role of the International Red Cross, Courtenay tells News Five an initial appeal for three point four million Swiss francs or about four million dollars has been established. The money will be released immediately and then the Red Cross societies around the world will help replenish the fund. In related news, the Inter-American Development Bank announced today that it has approved a hundred thousand dollar grant for Belize from its Emergency Technical Cooperation Fund. The technical assistance which will be executed by the Belize Red Cross in cooperation with the government of Belize and the bank will assist in the maintenance of populations that have been temporarily displaced by Hurricane Mitch.

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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