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Belize Emergency Relief responding to the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis

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Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020. 5:54 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: When compared to its Central American neighbors, Belize has largely been spared from the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. With only 18 confirmed cases and two deaths, the country’s health system did not see the burden that other countries faced, and the population dogged what could have been the most intense health crisis in the country’s history. However, Belize was not spared the economic fallout, and thousands lost their jobs, more still had some kind of reduction to their income if they managed to remain employed.

As the county sank into a dark hour of need, individuals, communities, and organizations rose up to the challenge, proving that there is a unique resiliency that is attached to the word “Belizean.” Many of these generous acts were done in silence, a sincere gesture born from a genuine desire to help those in need. Breaking Belize News learned of one such organization, Belize Emergency Relief, which has been working, without recognition for the past 8 weeks, assisting over 5,500 individuals in 7 different communities (Calla Creek, San Antonio, Cayo, Benque Viejo, Placencia, Punta Gorda, Dangriga, Independence).

We spoke with the organization’s founder Aline Habib, who said she started the relief efforts with nothing more than a desire to make a difference.

“When COVID hit and people started losing their jobs, running out of money and food, I just knew I had to do something to help. I couldn’t sit here and not do anything. I felt sad particularly for remote communities who were not receiving any kind of assistance, some don’t even have phones or internet to reach out,” Habib said.

With a GoFundMe page and a team of volunteers, Belize Emergency Relief prepared care packages and had them delivered to those in need while using its social media page as a tool for transparency and keeping benefactors informed of its movements.

“We have been providing weekly reports of our spendings on our Facebook page for full transparency and people have said how much they appreciate our honesty and even the fact that we respect recipients’ anonymity by covering their faces in pictures,” Habib added.

She stressed that the effort could not have been possible without the assistance of Khadija Assales, Arianie Lara Morgan, George Ramos, Amilkat Uk, Lorcia Moore, Jonah Supaul, Solo Grimm and the Young Generalz in Dangriga, Nathan Young, Rita DeFour, and Placencia Village Council, Yaoling Lee and the team from Mariposa Jungle Lodge in San Antonio Cayo, and various other volunteers and benefactors. She also encouraged anyone thinking of helping others during this difficult time to make the effort, noting that dedicating time to a worthwhile cause is as important as donating money.

BBN salutes Belize Emergency Relief for their efforts and encourages all Belizeans to help out where they can.

 

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