Hurricane Earl was a Category 1 hurricane that did major damage to the villages of Belize.
One week after Hurricane Earl came ashore in Belize, Dr. Paul Whisnant, Belize Mission Director for International Servants, Citizen Liaison for the U.S. Embassy in Belize, was back in Flagler on a fund-raising tour.
“I would like to be on the ground (in Belize) right now” Whisnant said. “I was on the ground helping to coordinate things, coordinating the rescue and the assessment.”
The storm was a Category 1, hardly acknowledged by the average Floridian, but for the poorer sections of Belize, the storm that crept across the towns at 14 mph was devastating.
“The people in poverty, which is the majority of the country, are the most severely affected,” Whisnant said.
Whisnant said that his group isn’t the only organization working to help. The Red Cross, the Baptist Association of Belize, UNICEF, and the National Emergency Management Office of Belize, to name a few, have activated.
“There are all of these groups doing good things,” he said. “The problem is -- the need is greater.”
Whisnant began working with the people of Belize after learning about an opportunity to go on a mission trip to the country, when he was a 19-year-old, sophomore in college, 28 years ago.
“I didn’t even know where Belize was,” Whisnant said. “I went back to college, and when I returned to Belize I had a backpack with three changes of clothes, and my Bible, toothbrush, $50 bucks, and a one-way plane ticket.”
Lynn Fallon of Palm Coast has known Whisnant for 31 years.
“We went to the same camp as teenagers,” Fallon said. “His family was always very missionary minded.”
Five years ago Whisnant and Fallon realized they had both moved to Palm Coast and reconnected on FaceBook. Fallon took her daughter, Kaleigh, then a high school student, on a missionary trip to Belize. Kaleigh Fallon is now an ICU nurse at Halifax Hospital.
Lynn Fallon said the people in Belize were different.
“They don’t expect anything of you, but they are so appreciative,” she said.
Fallon was impressed by how Whisnant goes into a village and meets the people, helps them with medical needs, the construction of churches, and trains the local men to be church pastors.
“His family was very missionary minded,” Fallon said. “It’s in his blood.”
Children are the most affected by Hurricane Earl
UNICEF reported that 3/4th of all of the children in Belize were affected by Hurricane Earl. Approximately 110,000 children, 27,000 younger than 5 years old.
Donations can be made to www.iServants.com/HurricaneEarlReliefAid, the 501c3 mission states 100% will go to the relief aid for Belize.