HC Deb 14 September 1931 vol 256 cc518-9

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he could give any further information with regard to the disastrous hurricane at Belize?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. J. H. Thomas)

Yes, Sir. I regret to say that British Honduras was visited by a hurricane of extreme severity on the afternoon of the 10th September. I fear that very serious damage has been done. The Governor reports that 70 per cent. Of Belize, the capital of the Colony, has been destroyed. The total number of casualties has not yet been ascertained. Over 300 deaths are known to have occurred, but it is to be feared that many more have in fact taken place. According to the latest reports from the Governor, the situation is well in hand and the people are in good health. Stocks of medical requisites have been conveyed to the Colony by United States aeroplanes, and I understand that, in this respect, the situation has been adequately met. His Majesty's ship "Danae" is expected to arrive on Wednesday with foodstuffs and other supplies; and the oiler "Serbol" has been directed to embark stores and provisions at Bermuda and to proceed at once to Belize. The United States steamship "Rochester," which has been placed by the Navy Department at the disposal of the American Red Cross, is also expected to arrive shortly with a further consignment of stores.

The House will, I am sure, wish to express appreciation of the prompt assistance rendered by the United States Government as well as by our own naval authorities. They will also wish to express deep sympathy with the Colony of British Honduras in the calamity which has overtaken it.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state whether steps have been taken or will be taken immediately to open a relief fund in this country?


The immediate object is to deal with the necessities as they arise at the moment. My hon. Friend may take it that with those we are dealing. Any subsequent action will also be taken into consideration.