Opposition Supports Aid for Wildfire Victims in Toledo District; Calls for Urgent Government Action

Opposition Supports Aid for Wildfire Victims in Toledo District; Calls for Urgent Government Action

The opposition says it would support a supplementary bill to assist victims of the destructive wildfires in the Toledo District. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has embarked on a damage assessment report following efforts to tackle the fire. For almost two weeks, raging wildfires have been decimating crops, displacing wildlife, and destroying home in several southern communities. Over the weekend, the Leader of the Opposition Moses Shyne Barrow visited Trio Village, which alongside San Pedro Columbia Village has been forced to battle the brunt of the blazes. Barrow spoke about the disaster today and how he believes the government should assist the victims with urgency.

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “These wildfires had been happening sporadically before this Sunday, which I was actually still in Toledo East when the entire part of the district seemed to be engulfed in fog due to the wildfires. Yeah, it’s very heart wrenching to visit families that have lost everything due to these wildfires. So I was able to find some resources to help at least four families in the rebuilding of their homes on behalf of Dennis Williams who is going to be the next, area representative of Toledo East by the grace of God but certainly it brings into sharp focus of the role of NEMO and the role of the Ministry of Housing in these types of emergencies. I know I have been extremely critical of the government when it comes to them bringing supplementary after supplementary to the House, but if the Ministry of Housing cannot find within the current budget the resources to help these families the Opposition would certainly support a supplementary in this instance, which is the true intent of the supplemental. It is for the emergencies that could not have been anticipated when the budget was being forecasted and this certainly counts in that. It also brings into sharp focus the fact that we need to look at investments in our apparatus to deal with these wildfires as far as planes that could fly over to release water to put out these fires. And it also leads to the health facilities. We know that the government cut a ribbon for a UDP project in Placencia, a health facility, the polyclinic in Placencia which was started under the UDP. We hope that we can see a health facility in Toledo. They need regional level equipment and staffing and they have long been complaining about it.”

Barrow went on to say that the wildfires highlight the weaknesses of the district’s fire department and health sector. He says that the government needs to invest in equipment that will lessen the damage of such disasters in the future. 

Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “We need to look at investments in our apparatus to deal with these wildfires as far as planes that could fly over to release water to put out these fires. And it also leads to the health facilities. We know that the government cut a ribbon for a UDP project in Placencia, a health facility, the polyclinic in Placencia which was started under the UDP. We hope that we can see a health facility in Toledo. They need regional level equipment and staffing and they have long been complaining about it and that God there haven’t been any fatalities in any of these wildfires, but who knows? So there are some serious issues there in Toledo East that, as I said, when it comes to rebuilding, the rebuilding process, housing materials, human development, whether it be maybe a facility within the village where people can go to be sheltered in the meantime, I know that some of the churches have taken in the displaced families but it certainly brings into sharp focus what more the government can do.”

It is yet to be seen whether the government will seek additional funds to assist the fire victims.

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