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#20434 - 01/24/06 05:38 AM Heavy rains flood Belize District schools
Marty Offline
Monday Jan 23

According to the weather experts, between nine last night and nine this morning, much of the country was trapped in a deluge of water. Rainfall gauges at the Hershey compound on the Hummingbird Highway recorded five point one seven inches, while Belize City was flooded by some three point eight inches. We understand the trough crossing the country is very unusual for this time of year as the system travelled east to west rather than north to south. This morning News Five's Karla Vernon put on her boots to find out how the Belize District was coping with all that water and found that students were the hardest hit.

Karla Vernon, Reporting
Even if you did not hear the school closure announcement on the radio this morning, anyone passing Our Lady of the Way Roman Catholic School in Ladyville would know immediately why classes had been cancelled. After last night’s heavy rains, the campus was more like a small lake.

Buttonwood Bay Primary School in Belize City was also flooded and abandoned.

Ruth Castillo, Principal, Buttonwood Bay Primary
”We had about eight people showing up this morning for classes. I guess the children are used to the fact that usually when it rains the yard floods. We are just trying to do some land filling now and like I said earlier, we are surrounded by swamp and so it takes a while for the water to drain off... and the children are probably used to that, so they just stayed home.”

The few students who did make the trek, made the best of things, playing football on the veranda with the self-appointed school mascot.

Ruth Castillo
We know a lot of our students come from behind the Jane Usher Boulevard area, Lake Independence area, Police Street, where the streets are terrible and with the rain pouring like that, there is no way the children can really get out to catch the bus to come to school.”

“We would hope that the parents would assist when the children come home with extra homework this week.”

Nazarene High School also cancelled classes today. Principal Samuel Sukhnandan told News Five there was some flooding, but the decision to close school was made mainly because only half the student body showed up. Most of them were wet and chilled, so everyone was sent home, except the teachers who used today to hold an extended staff meeting. Karla Vernon for News Five.

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#20435 - 01/24/06 02:19 PM Re: Heavy rains flood Belize District schools
WhiteWater Offline
I can't imagine the kids are going to school on AC either. It's been coming down all night, and for now doesn't look like it's gonna stop. Although, right this second it's simply raining, instead of pouring.

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#20436 - 01/25/06 01:26 AM Re: Heavy rains flood Belize District schools
Marty Offline
Belmopan, Belize 24 January 2006 (Belizean.com) Heavy rains in Belize have led to floods and have disrupted traffic and led to most schools being shut down. A unseasonable tropical disturbance that formed in the Western Caribbean yesterday has now moved ashore over Belize, but is not a threat to become a tropical depression, according to the Belize Meteorological Service in its latest advisory at 2 pm local time. Heavy rains of 4-8 inches are have been experienced in most parts of Belize today in association with the intense thunderstorms of the disturbance.

The Western highway, one of the main arteries connecting the northern and central part of Belize with the capital, Belmopan, was shut down for several hours today following flooding in the Mount Pleasant area, about 5 miles from Belmopan. A passenger bus and a truck were swept off the highway by raging floodwaters. All passengers were evacuated to safety.

The Mennonite community at Spanish Lookout has been virtually marooned as the two major exits to the city, the Iguana Creek Bridge and the Baking Pot crossing have been shut down due to flood waters. The bridge connecting the communities at Cristo Rey in the Cayo district has been damaged and is impassable to traffic.

Late this evening the Western Highway was temporarily re-opened to large vehicles only. These vehicles are being assisted and towed by heavy construction machinery to help them cross the flooded highway. The weather is expected to improve tomorrow.

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#20437 - 01/25/06 07:47 AM Re: Heavy rains flood Belize District schools
Marty Offline
Belize City residents suffer a soaking
And while the flooding in the rolling hills of Cayo went down just as fast as it came up, for residents of a city barely above sea level, it was a different story... one that has many people soaking mad.

Frank Longsworth, Area resident
”I noh know how I’m gonna recover from this right now. It’s gonna take a while to recover, because if you notice, my washing machine, that’s gone, that’s totalled and that’s a good washing machine. I fix washing machines and different things and all dem motos and things dem gone.”

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
In Belize City the water that fell incessantly through the night quickly flooded streets and homes. In Port Loyola, many residents had no choice but to wade through the newly created canals or remain indoors. Most of the streets were under water in the neighbourhood of Jane Usher Boulevard, making life even more difficult for disadvantaged residents.

It did not take long before the water filled Frank Longsworth’s small living quarters.

Frank Longsworth
”Knowing the condition, I didn’t have no feeling that it was gonna rain that long to have this much water. But when it start raining really long and the water start rising, then I was a bit worried.”

The residents say this is the first time the neighbourhood has collected so much water and they believe the flood is being caused by a nearby development project.

Jacqueline Woods
“How have you guys been coping with the wet conditions?”

Ashanti Gonguez, Area Resident
”Well ma’am, we di try do we best right now, avoid the kids from come outside due to the water and everything how it di rain, every minute it di rain and stuff. We di try get with it and stuff.”

Jacqueline Woods
“Your place is totally surrounded by water.”

Ashanti Gonguez
”Yes, surrounded right around. You can’t see nothing else, everything di float, bicycles, drum, everything just di float right round and dah wah real disaster. They should come back yah and take a further peek, because due to where they dig the canal dah back yah, it look like it stop up everything and then the water can’t go nowhere, so it settle right on this side.”

Frank Longsworth
”Since they start doing the work over there, it seems like that closed up the outlet, the drainage start to close up. And by them closing up the drainage we find that the water start to raise and raise and raise and it just went outta control.”

Ashanti Gonguez
”This dah the worst, because when it mi rain them couple times, them days before, it never stand like this; this street nevah full. But I noh know, two days now and this dah weh we di get. Imagine if we get a extra three more days, we might full.”

Joseph Petillo, Area Resident
”Inna this flood yah we have children playing in water and nobody from Health come, nobody from Health Department come and see about that. They should be the first one respond to these situation yah.”

Joan Mariano, Area Resident
”When it rain like a day or two, you start to see it rise just like this. Bout inna last year the same thing mi happen. When it rain, my son almost drowned right deh, that same spot weh you see deh. He run from so, he slipped down right deh. If somebody nevah there fi pick ah up, he mi wah drowned.”

Jacqueline Woods
“How long it take the water to run off?””

Joan Mariano
”This wah deh yah fi like nearly a week. It start yesterday, from yesterday this done deh yah, so this noh wah go until next week Monday. All them days we have to walk through this.”

At this time all the residents want is for the rain to cease. Until then, they will try to do their best to stay dry. Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

If there is any silver lining to all the rain clouds over Belize it is that a good portion of the precipitation is helping to fill the reservoir behind the Chalillo Dam in Cayo. According to Stephen Usher, vice president of operations for BECOL, the water level began rising gradually on Sunday and they expect to see an even larger flow from the more recent rains. Exactly how much is difficult to predict as much of the heaviest rain is localised and falling downstream of Chalillo on the lower Macal River. At present, the reservoir at Chalillo is around fifty percent full.

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