"It is almost impossible to describe the destruction and devastation experienced by the communities of Toledo. It is not only the homes that have been destroyed, but the forest which their livelihoods depend upon that has been felled.

Cahune palms which they make their thatch roofs from are down, the trees that they use for their house structures and walls are scattered and destroyed. The basic materials for building their homes are no longer there. I can't imagine what kind of homes they will now construct.
After Hurricane Iris

Above photo courtesy of Plenty Belize

Before Hurricane Iris

Their crops are destroyed, much of their livestock has been killed, their water supplies are contaminated. Their livelihoods and lives are in complete disarray.

This hurricane has totally changed the physical and cultural landscape of our communities. We have to find some way to help our communities reconstruct their lives. We appeal to all our friends at home and abroad to help us get through this catastrophe that has befallen the people of Toledo."

  Gregory Ch'oc
President of the Q'eqchi' Council of Belize and spokesperson for the Maya Leaders of Southern Belize
October 10, 2001

What Happened?

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Eric Leupold and Anne-Michelle Marsden

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