Belize, which was ravaged by Hurricane Iris last week, has received a US$25,000 emergency aid package from the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).
Ambassador Lisa Shoman, that Caribbean nation's Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), accepted the check from Secretary General César Gaviria during a brief ceremony at OAS Headquarters today, remarking: "it's very important for us to know that we have not been alone in this," as her country has been hit by four hurricanes in the last three years.
The PADF's $25,000 "Emergency Shelter Package" being shipped Thursday will assist 480 victims. The aid package includes tents, blankets, rolls of plastic sheeting and grommets, personal hygiene kits, kerosene lanterns, water purification supplies and electric generators.
The PADF announced another $15,000 in assistance from Chevron-Texaco to help victims the hurricane had left homeless in southern Belize, with roofing and building materials as well as food.
"The donations that we have gotten both from the OAS and the PADF are very important, because the poorest part of our country in terms of material wealth has been affected, and our biggest agricultural sector has been hit as well," Shoman reported, noting that 12,000 to 13,000 people have been left homeless by the Hurricane's passage last October 8.
OAS Secretary General César Gaviria assured the people and government of Belize that it would work to mobilize aid and solidarity to meet emergency situations, adding that the institutions of the inter-American system remain committed to lend whatever assistance they can.
Ambassador Alexander Watson, the PADF President, said his Foundation was happy to collaborate with the OAS and Belizeans, providing them support "in their moment of greatest need."
PADF Executive Director John Sanbrailo also participated at the ceremony.
Founded in 1962 as a non-profit group to help the private sector in OAS member countries participate in the development process, the Pan American Development Foundation also assists in disaster relief, coordinating with the OAS whose Secretary General chairs the Foundation's Board of Trustees.