Media Center

Press Release


  June 16, 2008

The Organization of American States (OAS) today delivered a $25,000 donation towards reconstruction efforts in Belize in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Arthur, which this past May 28 brought severe flash floods that left four people dead and one still missing.

Secretary General José Miguel Insulza presented the check to Belize’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, and conveyed the Organization’s sympathies and solidarity with the Central American nation in the wake of the catastrophic tropical storm.

Insulza told the Belizean Ambassador and the others on hand for the brief ceremony that the Organization is working along with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) to see what assistance could be mobilized in addition to today’s contribution, which came from the Organization’s Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM).

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the OAS-affiliated PADF, John Sanbrailo, expressed his organization’s solidarity, noting the PADF would be making an effort to contact corporate and other private donors to see how they could complement the aid and relief efforts already underway.

Saying his country Belize is grateful for this OAS contribution and for the expressions of solidarity and support, Ambassador Mendez described this latest hemispheric gesture as “again, a very clear signal to us that the OAS responds to the needs of its member states, within the realm of its capabilities.” The Belizean diplomat went on to state: “We are very pleased that beyond the expressions of solidarity—which do count—the OAS actually is making a contribution, within the realm of its capabilities, and we appreciate it.”

Ambassador Mendez said the OAS money would be sent to the Belize National Emergency Management Organization, to help cover costs involved in recovery and rebuilding. He also provided an update on the extent of the human and material damage left by Tropical Storm Arthur.

Among the other officials present for the handing over of the check to Belize was Permanent Council Chairman, Ambassador Michael King, who is Barbados’ Permanent Representative to the OAS.

Reference: E-237/08