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Searchlight helps bring relief to some Sandy Bay residents

Searchlight helps bring relief to some Sandy Bay residents

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Last Saturday, SEARCHLIGHT partnered with local businesses and organizations to donate almost $10,000 worth of supplies to persons at the Sandy Bay emergency shelter who were affected by a trough system that passed last week, dumping seven inches of rain on the island.

SEARCHLIGHT, with the assistance of the General Employees Co-operative Credit Union (GECCU), Premium Products, Tus-T water, Food Centre Ltd and NBC Radio was able to deliver 48 care packages to families in the affected community.

Each care package contained: toilet paper, toilet soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, crackers, Tropical cooking oil, snacks (Frito Lay and Cracker Jack), Vienna sausages and Fruta boxed drinks.{{more}}

In addition to the care packages, two full size mattresses, 25 cases of water (Blue Waters and Tus-T), bales of toilet paper and 10 cases of Toppers popcorn snacks were handed over to the shelter manager for distribution to those affected, as needed.

SEARCHLIGHT also handed over 159 new T-shirts of which 97 were for children, on behalf of NBC Radio.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of Interactive Media Ltd and editor of the SEARCHLIGHT Clare Keizer, in an interview yesterday, said that after she realized the extent of the damage at Sandy Bay, she felt moved to reach out and assist the residents of the community.

“Yes, we are the media and one of our primary roles is to raise awareness and to let the world know about the plight of the people, but I thought in addition to bringing awareness to what was going on at Sandy Bay, this time SEARCHLIGHT should contribute to the solution, we should be part of the solution,” she said.

Keizer noted that after discussing the idea with her staff on Friday, they were able to visit the devastated community by midday Saturday, with a truckload of supplies.

She said even with the contribution of SEARCHLIGHT and its partners, Sandy Bay will need humanitarian assistance for a long time to come.

“Because even though we were able to collect a fairly decent amount of relief supplies in a short space of time, I realized that what we were providing was only a drop in the bucket and so much more was needed. There are families who have lost everything and they not only need supplies now, when the impact of what happened up there is fresh, they going to need support for a long time to come.”

She added that it gladdened her heart to see the excited smiles on children’s faces when they spotted the snacks in their care packages.

But in addition to the humanitarian aspect of the disaster, the community’s infrastructure also took a pounding.

“When I saw the extent of the damage, it made me realize how much more needs to be done. There is a particular area of Sandy Bay that I saw that to me resembled Ground Zero; the devastation was really awful. In addition to the humanitarian outreach …a lot of work needs to done in terms of the infrastructural damage that took place out there; there’s going to be a lot of work to be done in that community for a very, very long time,” she stated.

Up to press time, 55 persons were still being housed at the Sandy Bay emergency shelter, 22 persons were housed at the Rose Bank emergency shelter, five persons were in the Spring Village emergency shelter and two persons were in a Rose Hall emergency shelter. (CM)

l Also see Pages 14-17

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