HURRICANE KEITH UPDATE
MONDAY 3:15 P.M. EST by the Belize Development
Keith was downgraded to a tropical storm with winds less than 75 mph.
You could argue where the center of circulation is currently. It might
be north of Xcalak, or off Robinson Point near the low lying flood plain
city of Belize City, the old colonial capital.
What is obvious though is a storm cell covers Belize from Ambergris
Caye to the Sibun River, inside which lie Caye Caulker, Long Caye, St.
Georges Caye and the port of Belize City of about 80,000 people. Within
this storm cell winds are steady at less than 75 mph with gusts in local
areas going up above hurricane force, estimated to be 90 mph in squall lines.
The port Belize City itself is experiencing flooding and wind damage.
Since any help for Caye Caulker and San Pedro and the other Cayes has to
come through Belize City this port; their helplessness and difficulty
with dealing with their own flooded situation makes any help needed by
the towns on the offshore islands a secondary choice for the leadership
that is supposed to be leading the country from and located in this port
town. This mainland port built on a flood plain is without electricity
and streets flooded with 2 feet of water and some damage to poles, lines
and some houses. A fairly normal occurrence for which City Council
planning should be in place.
It might seem more logical to route rescue and reconstruction operations through
Maskall and Northern River Lagoon and the eighteen miles of open water of
the inner sea to the offshore island towns. Or through Corozal by boat.
NEMO has handled the pre-hurricane
situation very well, with good planning and execution, preliminary
reports indicate. Much of the country has resources that can be commandeered and
re-prioritized. We have the resources,
let us have the leadership.
I hope that the excellent work of NEMO can be
extended to rapid mobilization of teams to look after RESCUE AND
RE-CONSTRUCTION. It would be a shame to see British Forces and American
Forces flying in to Belize with medics and food supplies. We have to be
able to do this ourselves on a regular basis, for we live at the Western
End of hurricane alley.
Admittedly, a government is going to be arguing
about the cost and cash. But literally, all that this government should
need, is promises that any rescue and re-construction cost will be
covered by our foreign loan debt forgiveness program from outside
countries. Send money, not supplies! Let us learn to do it ourselves.
If we were in a war with Guatemala, the war
would not stop for rainy conditions, or bad weather. The military must
be used and work effectively in these tropical storm conditions, or they
are next to worthless otherwise. Wars don't stop for your convenience
and neither do disasters.