A team of Rotarians recently completed a mission to Belize as part of the ongoing Liberty NY Rotary Club (LNYRC) Disaster Preparedness and Relief efforts.  According to Liberty Rotarian and head of Mission Control Operations, Charles Lee Miller, the goal of the 5-day mission was “to deepen our operational knowledge and partnerships in the Belize River Valley in order to inform and advance ongoing efforts to improve survivability and quality of life in the face of future disaster.”

The team conducted reconnaissance of the Belize River Valley and Belize City which included identifying potential storage locations for disaster relief supplies, logistics, demographics, and cultural basics of remote villages most likely to be served by ongoing efforts.  The team was able to view road and river access, public buildings and common areas, local government structures and services, as well as languages spoken and religious centers.  The team took an aerial and boat tour and met with council leadership of four villages in the more remote areas of the Belize River Valley.  In addition, the team toured the South areas of Belize City that have a more dense population and are vulnerable to flooding on a consistent basis.  

The team also formalized relationships with our Rotary brothers and sister, private entities and government organizations meeting with the Rotary Clubs of Belize and Belize Sunrise, BERT (Belize Emergency Response Team), NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization) and CEMO (Belize City Emergency Management Organization).  The team will be analyzing and assessing the data gathered during the mission to help create and establish a sustainable plan to prepare our Belizean friends for future disasters.

Belize is a small country in Central America and in November 2020, following hits by two major Hurricanes (Eta and  Iota) within a week, Belize Rotarians reached out for assistance in both provision of immediate relief and in building response capacity for future disasters.  Local fundraising efforts by the LNYRC and the hard work of Belize Rotarians resulted in delivery of material support to impacted villagers in remote and underserved areas.   Ongoing relationship building culminated in this deployment of the team of local Rotarians including Gary Siegel, Shannon Barry, Gary Silver, Irving Kaplan and Don Simkin to further the overarching goal of providing disaster relief and building disaster preparedness capacity. The mission control team of Charles Lee Miller, Mr. Terry Grafmuller and Joe Abraham, assisted, monitoring movement and providing safety measures for the team.

The LNYRC has developed a resumé of Disaster Relief efforts in the past in Haiti, Texas, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, and most recently in Belize.  “Service Above Self is the Rotary motto and through that service we always try to help others that are in need locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” says Gary Silver who is the co-chair of the club’s Disaster Relief Committee.  “This is just another example of us developing strong relationships and providing that help in a sustainable manner.”

Please consider donating to the LNYRC Disaster Preparedness & Relief Fund*

CLICK HERE to donate online with credit/debit card

DONATE ON VENMO – search @libertynyrotary and type “Disaster Relief” in the “What’s It For” section.  

To donate by check or money order make payable to:
CFOS Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund

Send checks to:
CFOS Liberty, New York, Rotary Club Foundation Fund
Please write “Disaster Relief” in the memo
30 Scotts Corners Drive, Suite 203
Montgomery, NY 12549

*All donations go directly to the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Program which supports our efforts both domestically and internationally.  Mission Team members personally pay 100 percent of their mission expenses.  There are no administrative fees whatsoever for the LNYRC Disaster Preparedness & Relief Program.