The Government and people of Belize are still in the process of recovering from the aftermath of Earl, which hit Belize as a category one hurricane in the early hours of Thursday morning. Several houses, businesses, government and private buildings were destroyed within the Belize District which received the greatest brunt of Earl leaving several families homeless. According to a release issued by the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), three-fourths of Belize’s children, amounting to more than 110,000, 27,000 of them being younger than age 5, were affected by Hurricane Earl.
In their report UNICEF indicated that it has conducted an initial assessment of damage caused by Earl in some of the most vulnerable communities located in Southside Belize City. Staff members on the ground reported that hundreds of families have been forced to seek cover with relatives, neighbors or in government shelters and many families have lost their houses and belongings to flash flooding and strong winds. The report also added that, although many families sought cover before the storm hit, some felt forced to stay in their homes as they feared for their children’s safety in community shelters due to the level of alcohol consumption and crowds.
One of the most pressing tasks, according to UNICEF, is to get children and families who have lost their homes into a safe child-friendly environment where they can access clean water, and get children back to learning. UNICEF also notes that the lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation, and the risk of mudslides, along with sightings of alligators and snakes in flooded areas, threaten the safety of the country’s most vulnerable children.
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