Representatives of the Belize Red Cross are back in Belize after being deployed to the hurricane-stricken island of Dominica. They had joined the global Red Cross emergency team that went to the island of Dominica after hurricane Maria made landfall on the island on September nineteen, knocking out all communication and destroying over ninety percent of the structures there. They are Terence Woodye, a First Aid instructor with the Belize Red Cross and Sidney Turton, a Volunteer who served as an Assistant Head of Operations on the island. They told us about their work on the island and overall experience.
Terence Woodye, First Aid Instructor, Belize Red Cross
“My main work there on the island was to assist with relief distribution. Approximately 98% of houses the roofs were destroyed or damaged so we had a stock there and then my duty was to work with the volunteers there to target the communities, get assessments done and go out and do the relief distribution to the affected families. This is actually my third deployment, I was deployed to Panama for one month and I was working in Haiti for three months but this is a different deployment seeing that a majority of the houses or the whole island was damaged. I recall approaching the island everything was brown like everything was burnt up like there was no life there, so I was there for three months and there is still a great deal of work to do there. One of the issues that the island had was that materials were scarce on the island, they didn’t have any materials on the island, the ships were coming in late but we had our prepositioned stock on the island.”
Sidney Turton, Volunteer, Belize Red Cross
“My experience in this hurricane it was an eye-opener. I think if a category 5 would hit Belize we would definitely see some destruction. We witnessed 98% of hoses being damaged, the people spent the better half of five or six weeks just trying to clear up. When you got there initially you couldn’t even go downtown it was all blocked with debris so it’s really an eye-opener to go to an island that was hit with a category 5 hurricane.”
Woodye returned to Belize today while Turton had returned some days before. The efforts of the International Red Cross continue on the island and are expected to run for at least another year. In Dominica, all of the country’s crops have been devastated. Seventy-five percent of the island’s natural landscape was destroyed. Dominicans also faced landslides that cut off roads and make access to rural communities difficult.