Immediately after the passage of Hurricane Eta through Central America during the first week of November, the Sagicor team in Belize mobilized to provide a level of immediate response to first responders and those who may have been forced to head quickly to shelters without time to gather themselves.
During the weekend of November 4th and into the week following, team members visited the affected areas and provided warm meals to the military and other first responder support personnel, along with individuals and families who fled to shelters in the Cayo, Belize and Stann Creek Districts. The latter were also supplied with hampers of food and cleaning supplies to assist with getting their lives back to normal.
Vikky Murga, one of Sagicor’s Advisors is distributing food at shelters and to military personnel in the Cayo District
Karen Godfrey, Branch Manager for Sagicor Life in Belize said, “Our team came together as early as Friday afternoon to begin mobilizing to provide some assistance to those who would be in need. We worked together to ensure that our colleagues, families and neighbors were as safe as possible and then we reached out to NEMO and other first responder organizations to find out how we could help. I am so proud of my team, who selflessly responded to our call to help others. Now that we are bracing for the impact of Iota, we’re confident that we can continue to provide some assistance. Working together as Belizeans we can ensure that all who are negatively affected by these storms are able to recover.”
The impact on Belize was approximately twenty inches of rainfall which mostly affected the central and southern regions of the country. This caused severe flooding in the Western District of Cayo, Southern District of Stann Creek, and Belize District, including Belize City. On 3 November, collective centres were activated to shelter people living in swampy and low-lying areas. UNICEF is closely monitoring flooding in Belize in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eta hitting Central America. According to initial reports, around 50,000–60,000 people have been affected in Belize, including an estimated 21,120 children (35.2 per cent of affected population). Damages have been reported to property and infrastructure in the areas hit by flooding, as a result of heavy rains. Cayo, Belize and Stann Creek districts are among the hardest hit. UNICEF is particularly concerned about the overlapping of the at-risk communities with some of the current COVID-19 hotspots in the country. Moreover, extremely vulnerable families, especially children, already affected by the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, are risking considerable loss of livelihoods.