What Happened?

Areas Affected

The majority of the Toledo Maya live in 38 villages off the Caribbean coast. Some villages are more like northern Belizean villages, in that to access the village, one can take a paved road. Electricity may also be available. Other Mayan villages are located along quite lengthy dirt roads. From Punta Gorda it takes several hours to reach the most distant villages.

Areas that were affected by Hurricane Iris include villages outside of the Toledo District and ones in which other ethnicity's inhabit. Thankfully, Punta Gorda Town was spared the effects of the hurricane. PG, as it is known throughout Belize, now serves as a command post for relief efforts.

Use the links below to gain further information about the areas affected.

To view a larger map of Toledo District, click here.

Villages Hardest Hit in the Toledo District

Many Maya villages were in some way affected by the hurricane. Below is a listing of those considered to have experienced the brunt of the storm's damage.

  Aguacate Indian Creek Pueblo Viejo San Miguel  
  Big Falls Jalacte San Antonio San Pedro Colombia
  Blue Creek Mafredy San Jose Santa Cruz
  Crique Jute Medina Bank San Marcos Santa Elena
  Silver Creek

San Miguel Village is one of the
hit hard by the hurricane.
Photos by Becky Zarger

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Village Damage
  Below are descriptions of Maya villages two days after Iris passed through the area. This information is made available through the reporting of the Maya Leaders of Southern Belize.  
San Antonio
Before the storm hit, Mr.Bol, a Maya Mopan shop and hotel owner from in his 60s from San Antonio village said that their home and village would be safe, because hurricanes never hit the inland communities. Afterwards, surveying the destruction of his home and hotel, with the roof ripped off and scattered around his yard, his fruit trees ripped up and broken apart, Mr.Bol was in a daze. "Since 19 years old, I have never seen any winds like this come to San Antonio - and then it was not as bad as now."
San Antonio Village is stripped of it's trees and structures not made of cement.
Photo courtesy of CARD






San Vicente
The people of San Vicente are very sad about the situation of their village. They sheltered in the incomplete civic center. The people were thrown down to the ground due to the strong hurricane. Most of them are crying and wondering what will become of them in the future. No one went there to send food, clothing and water for almost 9 hours. The people had to find some ways to see how they can eat. They gathered all the dead chickens and cleaned them and cooked them. The fire was very hard to start, but they had to do something. They had to drink the dirty water. The place is very cold and sheets and clothes are especially needed for the babies.
Big Falls
The people of Big Falls have suffered immensely. 95% of the houses are completely destroyed. The people are all crying for food, water and shelter. Most of them are crying over their losses, and especially the elders who are unable to help themselves. Children are without clothes and are being affected by the weather. This was a sad experience for the people of Big Falls who lost everything. A man in Big Falls came by, to ask for assistance. His wife was in the hospital and he needs a vehicle to carry her back to Big Falls, but there is no house to go back to. He will stay at his sister Miriam's house.
San Jose
People who experienced the hurricane said that they will never forget it. The forest is completely lost. Animals died, homes are completely destroyed. Crops are destroyed. The people are crying as they know the hardship they went through to get their homes, and now the hurricane has completely destroyed all their belongings. Some just don't know what to do, they are very disappointed by life. Some got injured but praise God that we didn't lose our lives, except for a man who went hunting and up to now hasn't arrived back as of yet. They guess he is dead. No one can go to look for him because Toledo is destroyed and the people are suffering too much.

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