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#419844 - 10/26/11 09:11 AM San Pedro Readies For Rina
Marty Offline
And while the evacuees who got to Belize City were in no hurry to go to their assigned shelter at UB in Belmopan, on san Pedro, residents were taking precautions.

Monica Bodden was there and she has this report:..

Monica Bodden Reporting
San Pedro residents are responding to the hurricane Rina Storm threat - as many who are living on the low lying areas of the island have evacuated or are getting prepared to evacuate.

Elsa Paz - Mayor of San Pedro
"At the moment we are watching the weather, hurricane Rina and its moving west north west, and we are expecting more like tropical storms winds."

"We are saying that it is going more to the Yucatan Peninsula, from Chetumal all the way from Cancun, so we are very close to the hurricane but what we are expecting is more like tropical storm winds."

Between morning and midday, more than 334 residents were evacuated from the island. So far evacuation has been voluntary.

Elsa Paz - Mayor of San Pedro
"This morning about 6:25am we had the boats running to Belize City and we have already evacuated about 234 people at that time. At the moment I believe there is much more being evacuated, but we are trying to evacuate the people that live in the lower areas like San Mateo, San Pedrito, and San Juan - those lower areas because if we get the winds it would come from the west of the island and those are very low areas and I believe that the high tide will raised too and we are asking them that if they don't have families or friends here in the center of the San Pedro, it's better for them to evacuate the island."

The last boat from off the island today was at 5 o'clock this evening. Mayor Paz says they are expecting tropical storm winds as the storm passes near to them and will not wait until the last minute to make preparations.

Elsa Paz - Mayor of San Pedro
"We have been tuning to the Reef Radio, our local radio station here, we are informing them. Every three hours we come to the radio and try to give them information and we are asking the people of San Pedro that yes, they have to take it serious because the island is different from the main land. We have to evacuate ahead of time we cannot leave it for last minute."

Frank Panton - retired forecaster and Chairman of the information committee for NEMO says that on its present track the storm should pass fairly near to the island - which means residents should be taking serious precautions.

Frank Panton - Chairman, Information Committee NEMO
"Residents of San Pedro can expect that the storm on its present track and as we are predicting should come fairly near to the island, near enough for us to be taking serious precautions. This is why we are talking about evacuations. The storm is travelling also very slowly, so it is giving people enough time to prepare. What do we expect? Tomorrow afternoon we should begin to see our weather conditions starting to go downhill as the hurricane come nearer to us and mostly a little bit to the north and east of us."

"How near it will come? We expect maybe within a hundred or less miles from the island to the center of the hurricane itself. So with this situation and because of slight errors in our predictions, we have to take the precautions and we expect that the weather then will become cloudy to overcast, some rain will start occurring between tomorrow evening and Thursday morning and the winds will pick up. We don't expect more than tropical storm force winds, which is less than about 40 to 45 mph. These winds extend out a whole 115 miles from the center of the storm and those will impact the island. As hurricane force winds above 70 mph are not expected to impact the island at the present time and those only extend out about 15 miles from the center."

NEMO this evening announced that they suspended evacuation operations from the Cayes at 5:00 p.m today. It will resume at 6:00 am tomorrow.

According to media reports from San Pedro, 1,500 residents evacuated the island town today.

Channel 7

#419845 - 10/26/11 09:14 AM Re: San Pedro Readies For Rina [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Island Communities Evacuate For Rina

Hurricane Rina is 255 miles due west of Belize City tonight - which puts Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker within the storm track. The Voluntary evacuation of those islands started this morning and we had one team in the city and another on San Pedro to see how it went. First here is the report from the city.

Jules Vasquez Reporting
The water taxis leaving Belize City were empty - no tourists - all the big boats had been commissioned by NEMO to assist in island evacuation.

The BBOC busses were lined up in front of both water taxi terminals this morning - their destinations clearly labeled - UB Gymnasium in Belmopan.

Claude Frazer, Chairman, BBOC
"We are just informed that we are supposed to be out here on standby for the evacuation from the islands which BBOC is responsible for Caye Caulker and San Pedro."

But the busses were still parked at mid-morning - when the voluntary evacuation from the islands had started hours earlier. San Pedro and Caye Caulker residents - in the main - didn't want to go to Belmopan; they wanted to go to the North - so many of them hopped in taxi's to take them to a northbound bus.

Claude Frazer, Chairman, BBOC
"On that side passengers are coming in some are going to PG, we have met on that side, some want to go north and I was explaining to the transport officer to try to inform NEMO that whenever they are sending the boat from the island try to send the people that are going to the shelters first, that when the boat arrive then from there we will have a bus full, that the bus could more move in instead of people waiting here too long in the bus."

But that didn't happen and the busses mostly stayed parked except this one which had made the only run of the morning taking 22 people to Belmopan.

Claude Frazer, Chairman, BBOC
"Well right now we have 6 buses right now on standby and as you could see things are slow right now, but if the need arise we could definitely bring up another 4 to 6 more."

But while they weren't coming in droves, island residents were filtering in - entire families packed up and prepared for what may be a long-ish stay in the event that Rina runs into Belize.

People we spoke to were cautious but not overly concern.

Jolene Swift, heading to Belmopan
"We're going to Belmopan because of the weather, it's not too rough out there, our riding was pretty good and the situation is my kid just woke up and he is miserable."

"But you not afraid of the weather, it doesn't seem."

Feona Meyers, heading to Maskall
"No I was kind of bit prepared for this so I am not really worried."

Marta Ravanles, Island Resident
"We have to evacuate because our family has children and we have to go now because they gave us the free transport - now that it's free we move because we can't stay in the island to take the risk."

Jolene Swift, heading to Belmopan
"NEMO is doing a pretty good job, San Pedro Express is doing a pretty good job, everybody is attentive, everything is just perfect."

Just perfect for right now, but if the storm turns - today's casual breezy pace could turn into a frantic Wednesday.

According to the Belize City Traffic Department which was managing the mobilization of the evacuees - by the end of the day, six busses had left to Belmopan, two of them full and the next four were half full - that's about two hundred plus persons who have gone to the Belmopan shelter.

Channel 7

#419853 - 10/26/11 09:38 AM Re: San Pedro Readies For Rina [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

San Pedro and Caye Caulker evacuation

As we said at the top of the newscast, evacuations are taking place from San Pedro and Caye Caulker, bringing residents to the mainland. Residents from the cayes were transferred to Belize City today from where they are heading to higher ground. Most persons we met were calm and glad to get out of harm’s way. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was at the water taxi terminal in Belize City and has this report.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Residents of Caye Caulker and San Pedro came ashore to the Belize City to the Water Taxis hubs because NEMO called for an evacuation of both islands. Hurricane RINA loomed over the horizon. Despite the change to their routines, the evacuees were all calm and in good spirit.

Jolene Swift, Evacuee

Jolene Swift

“We are going to Belmopan because of the weather. It’s not too rough, ride in was pretty good. The situation is my kid just woke up and he is miserable. It was like seventy-two of us on the boat and I’m coming from San Pedro.”

Jose Sanchez

“What was it like out there? What’s the movement like? Are people afraid or are they just following a mandatory?”

Jolene Swift

“Mandatory. Coming in just now, the boat was packed. NEMO is doing a pretty good job, San Pedro Express is doing a good job; everybody is attentive—everything is just perfect.”

Jose Sanchez

“When it comes to your supplies, do you plan to get that in Belmopan?”

Jolene Swift

“It’s right there—everything is perfect. To bring in food from San Pedro it doesn’t make sense. We’ll pick up supplies and whatnot but clothes is enough. We are heading to Stann Creek. This is the first time that we’ve had to be evacuated from the island.”

Feona Myers

Feona Myers, Evacuee

“I’m just coming from San Pedro going to Maskall to prepare for this weather. I am travelling alone for now. We came on the boat together but she is going to Dangriga and I am going to Maskall. I’m not afraid of the weather. I was kinda prepared for this so I’m just cool.”

And she had reason to be just cool. The hurricane tracking from weather.com projected a path that steered Rina from Belize. But throughout the day, islanders continued to slowly stream into harbor.The buses to that would take the residents to the UB gym in Belmopan had only a few people on board.

Claude Frazer, Chairman, Belize Bus Owners Coop.

Claude Frazer

“We are supposed to be out here on standby for the evacuation from the islands which BBOC is responsible for: Caye Caulker and San Pedro. We refuel the bus and are out here waiting for passenger from the island to proceed.”

Jose Sanchez

“How many buses moving between Belize City and Belmopan?”

Claude Frazer

“Well right now we have six buses right now on standby and as you can see things is slow right now, but if the need arise we can definitely haul up a next four to six more. Passengers are coming in; some going to P.G., some want to go north and I was explaining to transport officer to when they are putting people on the boat from the island, try to send people that are going to shelters first, so that when boat arrives then from there you will have a bus full that the bus can get moving instead of people waiting too long on the bus.”

Lorenzo Lopez

Lorenzo Lopez, Evacuee

“I’m coming from San Pedro.”

Jose Sanchez

“How has this experience been so far with the evacuation?”

Lorenzo Lopez

“Early this morning. We didn’t have any plans to move out. We live there, we are locals and usually we pass the weather in the island. We have been there for a couple hurricanes. But today, I am just planning to move out because of the kids; make it safer for them moving on to the mainly. It’s certainly been like a family trip instead of being afraid?”

Jose Sanchez

“When it comes to supplies, are you ready?”

Lorenzo Lopez

“Yes sure, I am taking my own supplies with me. I’m not looking to purchase anywhere; I’m taking mines with me. We not going to the UB gymnasium, we are heading to local family that we have in Belmopan. So we don’t wanna head to the gymnasium right.”

Even some tourists had to cut their holiday short.

Leah Baril, on Holiday

“It was very good we spent more of our time on Caye Caulker and it was very nice.”

Leah Baril

Jose Sanchez

“With the hurricane coming by and evacuations, did it affect your travel plans any at all?”

Leah Baril

“No, not really. We left a little bit early, but it was beautiful when we left so. And it won’t affect our decision to come back. It’s beautiful, it’s sunny out today and we absolutely loved it here. The people are awesome, very friendly and we enjoyed our stay very much.”

Whatever its path in the next few days, RINA provides an opportunity for NEMO to test its preparedness. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The weather report will have more on Hurricane Rina later on.

Channel 5


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