The Maya Leaders' Hurricane Iris Disaster Relief Effort
- Fundraising Appeal -
Iris, a category 4 hurricane, hit southern Belize on Monday 8th October,
2001. Between approximately 8.30-10pm, the Maya communities of the Toledo
District experienced the brunt of its 145 mph winds, as houses were ripped
apart, trees split in two or torn out at their roots. Until 2 am, heavy
rains bore down on their devastated homes. But by 3 am, the rains and winds
had thoroughly abated, and an eerie calm reigned over the communities as
the people emerged from their shelters to survey the unthinkable devastation
Preliminary accounts suggest that at least 8,000 Maya villagers out of approximately 16,000 in the Toledo District are currently homeless. Some of the villages are completely destroyed. Most have sustained serious structural damage. People are living out in the open in inclement weather. The crops - rice, corn, fruit trees etc. - are destroyed, and most livestock is dead or missing. The rivers are contaminated, and water and food supplies are running out. People are cold, wet and hungry, and there are reports that flu, colds and diarrhea are breaking out amongst the population.
are no definite reports of casualties so far, though some people are missing,
presumed dead. Other communities are in such disarray, and utterly cut
off from communication, that it will be some time before a serious assessment
of the number injured and killed can be ascertained.
There is an immediate need for food, water, medicine, clothing and temporary shelter. There is also an urgent and long-term need for building materials for the long task of reconstruction of the various villages. With many of the communities cut off from town, communication devices such as two-way / CB radios would also be extremely useful.
The Maya Leaders'
Hurricane Iris Disaster Relief Effort
Bank American International
should be instructed to send these funds on to: