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#420001 - 10/27/11 02:20 PM Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats
Marty Offline
And while politics is making headlines tonight - if Hurricane Rina hadn't take a northwest track early this morning, that storm would be the headline.

Very thankfully, though, Rina did exactly as the forecasters said she would: this morning between three and 6:00 am, she started jogging northwest; she's continued in that direction - and tonight, an all-clear has been declared for Belize as the storm poses no threat to this country.

The all clear was given at 4:00 pm - so things return to normal - school will be held countrywide as usual tomorrow.

And at 6:00 pm today, Rina was down to a category one storm, about 143 miles south southeast of Corozal town, moving northwest at six miles per hour.

The storm is still expected to making a further northward turn.

Channel 7


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#420002 - 10/27/11 02:21 PM Re: Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rina Threat Downgraded But Islanders Still Sought Shelter

The hurricane threat may have been subsiding from early this morning - but many island residents - didn't want to take the chance.

They came into the city on water taxis provided by NEMO.

They told Jim McFadzean why they decided to make the tip to higher, safer ground:

Jim McFadzean Reporting

The first boatloads of both locals and tourists alike arrived here sometime this morning around 9:30. It took 3 San Pedro Water Taxis to ferry a total of 258 evacuees from both Caye Caulker and San Pedro.

Gustavo Heredia - Boat Captain, San Pedro Water Taxi
"For this morning, we had 4 boats coming in from Caye Caulker. 1 came in with 40 people; that's the one I drove. Another one came in with 118, another with 100, and one just arrived with like 50 people."

In addition to the San Pedro Water Taxis, evacuees were also being ferried by the Caye Caulker Water Taxi service, like this one filled almost to capacity, which pulled into the Belize City harbor at exactly 10:45 A.M.

Commuter buses hired by NEMO, lined up in front of the tourist village and the Caye Caulker Water Taxi terminal, to transport the majority of the arrivals, made up mostly of families, like the Seley family of five, to destinations mainly in the west.

Jim McFadzean
"Edward, when did you decide to leave the cayes? At what point did you decide that it was necessary for you to leave with your family?"

Edward Seley - San Pedro Evacuee
"I saw it getting a little bit rough. I saw water coming on the shores, so I moved from there."

Jim McFadzean
"What's the impression that you got, that people are taking the storm seriously?"

Edward Seley
"Yes, they are taking it seriously right now."

Jim McFadzean
"Tell us what's going on on the island right now, when you left: a lot of movement on the island, people boarding up, that sort of thing?"

Edward Seley
"Yes, a lot of the people are moving quickly right now because they think that it will come near San Pedro, so they are coming off. It's better for them."

Jim McFadzean
"Now you get the sense that it's mostly families, like yourself who have kids that are more concerned about evacuating the island. Is this true or is it not?"

Edward Seley
"It's true."

Jim McFadzean
"Tell us about your family. How many kids do you have, and where do you plan on going from here?"

Edward Seley
"I have 5 kids and my wife. And I am going to Orange Walk, I think."

Jim McFadzean
"Well you know, they say that if - at all - the storm should affect Belize, it's going to affect the north. Why go north, when you are actually leaving to get away from the storm?"

Edward Seley
"Because my family is big and maybe over there, I don't have a resting spot. I just came out from hospital last night."

Jim McFadzean
"Can you tell us what the mood is on the island when you left it?"

Rose Marie Linares - Evacuee
"It's rough."

Jim McFadzean
"Is it raining on the island right now?"

Rose Marie Linares
"No, not right now."

Jim McFadzean
"No rain. Okay, why are you leaving the island?"

Rose Marie Linares
"Because I just want to go for the overnight in Belmopan."

Jim McFadzean
"What's the mood on the island right now?"

Edison Johnson - Evacuee
"Well, when we left, there were some people who were still on the island, but last night when the people at the hotel told us that we had to go in, we caught the first boat coming in this morning."

Jim McFadzean
"Where were people from the island getting their information that they should leave the island?"

Edison Johnson
"Well, from NEMO, and from the people who run the hotels and other things. We came in on that advisory."

Jim McFadzean
"So was there actually NEMO staff that was going around telling people that maybe it's time to leave?"

Edison Johnson
"No, they were calling on the phone and telling them that they have to come out."

Jim McFadzean
"Give me an idea what's going on on the island right now? Are people boarding up? Do you get the sense that people are taking the storm seriously?"

Edison Johnson
"Some are boarding up right now. Not all, but some are taking the storm seriously."

Jim McFadzean
"Are stores still open?"

Edison Johnson
"No, there are no stores opened."

Jim McFadzean
"Now, where are you heading to?"

Edison Johnson
"Cayo, I'm going home to meet my little son, because he is home by himself with his aunt. So I have to try to reach home to get to him."

Once on board the buses, Traffic officers tallied the number of people taking advantage of the free shuttle to Belmopan where the University of Belize has been designated a shelter.

Jim McFadzean
"Can you tell us so far, since morning, how many people have been accommodated on these commuter buses, and what primary destination are these people going to?"

Ronald Crawford - Belize City Traffic Officer
"Well, since morning, this will be the second bus that we are sending out. The first bus left with 35 passengers, and this one is leaving with 41. So we have about 76 total since morning."

Jose Sanchez - Channel 5 News
"But would you say that there are a lot of people who take private rides and taxies also?"

Ronald Crawford
Well, the majority of the people who came off the boats took a taxi to catch a bus going their own districts. So, the majority of the people don't really want to go to Belmopan. That's the situation right now."

Jim McFadzean
"Do you expect that the number of people leaving the island will taper off as the day goes by?"

Ronald Crawford
"Definitely, because what we are getting to understand right now is that this is the last boat that is coming in for the morning with people who are evacuating. So from here, it's supposed to go slow. We have no more people coming off the island basically."

Jim McFadzean
"I sense that nobody is leaving Belize City to go to the islands."

Gustavo Heredia - Boat Captain, San Pedro Water Taxi
"That's right, we are not allowing it. The Port Authority and Coast Guard are not allowing anyone, especially if you are going on the weekend vacation; they are not allowing anyone to go. So, we are just bringing people in, not taking out anyone."

By 11:30 this morning, the number of people leaving the island seemed to have tapered off, and, if Hurricane Rina continues on its west-northwesterly trajectory, it's likely that those left on the island, at this point and time, will remain there.

Channel 7


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#420003 - 10/27/11 02:22 PM Re: Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

No Bed Of Roses At UB Shelter In Belmopan

And while that was the situation in the city the other side of that story is at the shelter at the UB Campus in Belmopan. Monica Bodden went west today to see what that was like and she also got an overview of the receding storm threat from NEMO Representatives.

Here's her story:

Monica Bodden Reporting

Around 3 yesterday afternoon, the storm track suddenly shifted from northwest to west - and hurricane Rina seemed to be heading directly for the Northern parts of Belize with winds of at least one hundred and ten miles an hour.

NEMO sprang into action as voluntary evacuation began for those living on the islands and the doors of shelters in Belmopan were opened.

Throughout the course of last night, hurricane Rina was closely monitored - and this morning it was a sigh of relief for many Belizeans when they heard that the category 2 hurricane had weakened to a category one and was now travelling in a West Northwest direction -which was its predicted path - taking the storm away from Belize.

Dennis Gonguez - Chief Meteorological Officer
"The 9 o'clock position was based largely on our local weather radar observation here in Belize. And at that time, the position was at 17.9 north, and 85.5 west. However, the hurricane hunter aircraft was on its way into the system, and at 10:45, they found a new center. It was located at 18.0 north, and 85.7 west. That position is about 150 miles east of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The hurricane hunter observation also found that Rina had weakened to a category 1 hurricane, with 85 mile per hour winds. So that's some good news for us, and the path. It is assuming a more west-northwesterly path which will take it away from us. So it's heading toward the west - northwest at about 5 miles per hour."

And even though Rina had weakened to a category 1 hurricane by 10 o'clock this morning, evacuation from off the islands was still ongoing.

Between yesterday and today, NEMO Coordinator, Noreen Fairweather told us, close to 2 thousand people were evacuated from San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Noreen Fairweather - National Emergency Coordinator
"We have been evacuating the island, primarily, we are looking at the San Pedro and Caye Caulker island. We've been moving people off the island since yesterday. Yesterday, I believe, we moved some 1,500 or so persons off the island. And this morning, another 450 plus persons - that was about 9 o'clock. That figure has gone up. Vessels have been in transit since then, and people are moving off. Not as fast as we would want them to, it's not in the numbers that we would want. And so we have been strongly encouraging them and urging them to heed evacuation warnings and move off the islands. While we have San Pedro and Caye Culker as the more densely populated areas, there are also the outer atolls and other islands out there. And we have been supported by the Coast Guard. They made their rounds. We have asked persons to come to the inland - come to the mainland. Moor their vessels, put them in safe harbor, and basically ensure that they are safe. Some persons have opted not to heed those advisories. We have about - I believe - off Lighthouse Reef, we have 5 people since yesterday that they have indicated quite clearly that they will not be moving. So our advice to them is that we will not be going back out there in the event that they need be evacuated in. Once we have given that cut-off time, we will not be putting our support people's - the Coast Guard and others - lives at risk in terms of moving people in sea states that are unsafe."

6 buses left Belize City yesterday - en route to Belmopan - with evacuees from off the islands.

But out of those hundreds of evacuees, only 15 persons occupied the shelter in Belmopan - which is the UB Gymnasium

Monica Bodden
"What's the level of shelter occupation at this time?"

Noreen Fairweather
"I believe that there are a couple of families here in Belmopan that has come in from the island. But of all those people - of almost 2000+ - most of them have either gone and sheltered with friends or family in Belize City, and in Belmopan. Several buses have come to Belmopan, but those persons have opted to stay with friends and family."

Monica Bodden
"Are there any shelter issues at this time?"

Noreen Fairweather
"They are a little inconvenienced in terms of them being in a shelter. That is expected; that's the way it is. But everything is going according to plan. They are as comfortable as we can make them. Most importantly, they are safe."

Delvorene Maine - Shelter Manager
"Actually, we have 15 persons right now using the shelter. But as you can see, most of them went to find food to sustain themselves for however long they'll be in the shelter. A bus came in this morning, but all we did was to take statistics from them. They all went to family or friends further up."

Monica Bodden
"Out of the 6 buses that came in yesterday, only 15 people actually took shelter?"

Delvorene Maine
"Only 15 people actually took shelter at the gymnasium."

One of those fifteen persons staying at the shelter is this elderly man - who has been a resident of San Pedro for the past 25 years. He had just returned to Belize from Guatemala where he was hospitalized for a heart check-up.

When trying to board his boat to get home on the island. He was told, not so and that a storm was coming.

Jose Najera - Resident of San Pedro
"Today at 6am I entered the country. Immigration officer asked me are you going to San Pedro? I told him yes, it's where I live. He told me, you can't go there because everyone is leaving San Pedro because of the hurricane. I was hospitalized in the cardio-logical ward for one day to check this machine in my chest in Guatemala City and yesterday they released me".

Dennis Gonguez - Chief Meteorological Officer
"We should continue to pay attention to now category 1 Hurricane Rina, and as it moves away, we should see conditions gradually improve over the next day or so, and We should be out of here within the next 24 to 36 hours."

Since the all clear has been given, buses will depart the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. tomorrow for all evacuees to be taken back to San Pedro and Caye Caulker.

Boats will leave Brown Sugar between 8:30 & 12:00 midday.

And school will resume as normal at the UB main campus in Belmopan.

Channel 7


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#420007 - 10/27/11 02:29 PM Re: Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Rina interrupts normally busy San Pedro

The threat of Hurricane Rina has been called off but there are many stories that show the preparedness of residents. At San Pedro, the prime tourist destination, residents and visitors took precautions. Those that stayed on the island boarded up their windows and stocked up their pantries, but thousands left the island for high ground. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez

The Streets of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye were like a ghost town. Not only empty, some buildings were boarded up in case Rina would visit. But on the beach side, some residents used the high tide to catch fish, as these kids did. But the evacuation of about three thousand had an impact on commerce and businesses such as Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop were without jobs.

Employee, Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop

“The first thing we did is get everything off the dock—make sure everything is safe. Thanks to the good lord that nothing happened and so we’re bringing everything back outside. If it had come it would affect us but like I said, thank god it didn’t come. But it did affect us because we had job two days and because of this we couldn’t work and if it would have come, they wouldn’t have work for a whole week maybe or more. Sorry for the poor neighbors in Mexico. Sorry for them.”

Manuel Heredia, Chairman, NEMO San Pedro

“The way it happened at this point, very little damage to the tourism industry indeed. I think within a day everything will be back to normal and I’m sure that most of them were preparing for the big season hat was right around the corner. So I don’t think it would have any effect on tourism industry.”

Clemente Martinez

But far from the glamour of La Isla Bonita, atop the London bridges of the Boca Del Rio Area, Clemente Martinez stayed at home.

Clemente Martinez, Resident, Boca Del Rio

“They told us that nothing will be happening and the hurricane had passed over us. It si the rumor that the people are spreading here in the San Mateo area, but we are watching out stuff so that nobody can go with them. We have been told that if the condition worsens for us here in the San Mateo area, we can eventually go to church to seek shelter.”

And though two red flags of the warning system blew in the wind, after exiting his three pm meeting, Manuel Heredia was glad that the islands would be spared as Rina moved onto Mexico.

Manuel Heredia

Manuel Heredia

“Every other area except for Corozal is out of the danger zone. At this point they have agreed that our people that moved from San Pedro will start to come back to the island as early as 8:30 tomorrow and going as far as five in the evening. So San Pedro may be spared from the worse. According to our technical advisor, it seems that very little possibility of that turning after it goes around Cuba and coming back to Belize again—very little possibility at this point.”

Frank Panton

Frank Panton, Meterologist/Hydrologist (Retired)

“We might be happy that we won’t be expecting extremely serious damaging conditions from the weather, but as far as the track of the hurricane is concerned it is still expected to continue the same way along the track almost and it should come near enough to the island as near as it will about ten o’clock tonight or after midnight. The hurricane force winds extends about thirty miles from the center. We expect it to come about sixty miles or a little less to the island of san Pedro at its nearest approach. That will put us in the area of tropical storm force winds.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Channel 5


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#420008 - 10/27/11 02:30 PM Re: Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Over 3000 evacuated from islands

Those who left San Pedro arrived in Belize City by boat. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was at the Water Taxi terminal when the evacuees came ashore.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

San Pedro was calm because it was short of three thousand residents. NEMO provided free boat rides for residents who heeded the call for evacuation. And though the buses that waited outside the Caye Caulker and San Pedro Belize Water Taxi associations intended to take them to shelter at the UB Gymnasium in Belmopan, most were in good spirits and had other destinations in the country.

Jose Sanchez

“Where are you coming from?”

Edwin Lima, Evacuee

Edwin Lima

“San Pedro.”

Jose Sanchez

“How was the boat ride over?”

Edwin Lima

“Well not too bad. We’re heading to Orange Walk.”

Jose Sanchez

“But if the storm hits, the northern districts will receive more rains. That doesn’t bother you?”

Edwin Lima

“Well the storm is going a little bit up—it’s not coming to us—so we will just get some rain. So it’s just another day off for us so we decided to just visit family.”

Jones Campos

Jones Campos, Evacuee

“I’m coming from Corozal.”

Jose Sanchez

“What do you do out there on the cayes?”

Jones Campos

“Working cause I have my family right there.”

Jose Sanchez

“Are you feeling any sort of fear?”

Jones Campos

“No, only because my ma seh I need to move from there to here. So I’m heading to Corozal so I am not worrying about the storm.”

Jose Sanchez

“Are you afraid of the threat of Rina?”

Eva Joseph

Eva Joseph, Evacuee

“Of course because everybody say that this thing yah really serious so I di try get out like everybody else. We are going to Belmopan. We are going to stay with my family.”

Albert Valencia, Evacuee

“I’m coming from San Pedro.”

Jose Sanchez

“How was the trip across with your family?”

Albert Valencia

Albert Valencia

“Well it was a little rough, but it was good. The kids are a little afraid.”

Jose Sanchez

“So was this a family trip or is this some fear that Rina will come?”

Albert Valencia

“Well it’s a little bit of fear.”

Jose Sanchez

“Where are you guys headed to now?

Linda Paiz, Evacuee

Linda Paiz

“San Ignacio; we live in San Ignacio.”

Jose Sanchez

“Coming with your family and everything, how was the trip—given that this was the last day of evacuating? Was the weather rough out there on the boat.”

Linda Paiz

“Well it’s not rough—not too much—a little bit. Well it’s raining and the waves are starting to get bigger.” I would rate NEMO nine out of ten.”

Jose Sanchez

“How many of you are travelling in your family?”

Celia Cabral

Celia Cabral, Evacuee

“Four—three kids; I have seven and four left over there. I am still afraid and I think it is better to be prepared. The last time I was there I experienced Keith and it was very difficult for me.”

Jose Sanchez

“How old are you?”

Kayla Shakira Chacon, Evacuee

“Ten. I go to Holy Cross Anglican School and it feels good to not have school today.”

Jose Luis Pinelo, Evacuee

Jose Luis Pinelo

“He say he give thanks to everything that they do because with this weather, it meet a lot of people without money. And he like weh deh di do for us. He said he going to Guatemala right now and it better for him to come out from there because no problem in Guatemala right now.”

Pablo Valerio, Evacuee

“I come from San Pedro. I’m a carpenter.”

Jose Sanchez

“Pablo were you afraid of Rina that’s why you came out this morning?”

Pablo Valerio

“No they sent me from San Pedro because the shelter there is occupied; small space.”

Pablo Valerio

Jose Sanchez

“I see you came out barefoot and all.”

Pablo Valerio

“Yes you come on boat.”

Jose Sanchez

“So where you and barefoot go after this?”

Pablo Valerio

“I’m going to my grandma house in Belmopan.”

Jose Sanchez

“So you are going to Belmopan to wait out Rina?”

Pablo Valerio

“I’m gonna go watch TV have fun and watch the news and weather channel.”

Jose Sanchez

“But you wa put on your slippers at least fi later?”

Pablo Valerio

“Yeah I have tennis and clothes. When I reach there I’m gonna get the nice clothes like you guys right. Have fun. Thanks.”

Rose Marie Linarez, Evacuee

Rose Marie Linarez

“The trip across was rough.”

Jose Sanchez

“Are you afraid of the storm or just a precaution?”

Rose Marie Linarez

“I was afraid. And I am now heading to Belmopan to family.”

Jose Sanchez

Jose Sanchez

“What do you think of the BBOC being out here from 3:30 this morning?

Rose Marie Linarez

“I think they are doing a good job.”

Jose Sanchez

“The traffic at the water taxi association has come to a virtual standstill. Dark cloud loom in the horizon as the country holds its proverbial breath and waits to see where Rina will strike. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

Channel 5


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#420010 - 10/27/11 02:35 PM Re: Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Evacuees make their way back home

Evacuees make their way back homeWhile, the all clear has been given for Belize, a number of people will now have to make their way back to their homes after being evacuated. Earlier today, before it was announced that Belize was in the clear, preparations were ongoing as Belize City residents and evacuees from the islands were about making final preparations for the storm. Tis morning when we visited the San Pedro Belize water taxi, four boats were chartered by NEMO to transport residents that voluntarily left the island. About 258 persons had come in from the island at the time when we checked. We spoke to one of the boat captains from the water taxi.

Boat Captain
For this morning, we had four boats coming in from Caye Caulker, one carrying forty people, that’s the one that I drove. We had another with a hundred and eighteen people and one that just arrived with about fifty people. I’ve been to Caye Caulker yesterday and this morning. The amount we had from Caye Caulker hasn’t been that much movement. From what I heard from other people, they haven’t been taking it very seriously and they are not even boarding up their windows either.

We spoke with evacuees who said that they left the island just to be on the safe side.

Journalist
Can you tell us what the mood is on the island when you left it?

Passenger 1
It’s rough.


Journalist
Is it raining right now?

Passenger 1
No, not right now

Journalist
Why are you leaving the island?

Passenger 1
Because I just want to go for an overnight in Belmopan.

Journalist
Were you concerned about the hurricane why you left the island?

Passenger 1
Well yes.

Passenger 2
The sea was getting a little bit rough and the sea water was coming on the shore. A lot of people are moving right now because they think it will come in San Pedro.

PlusTV


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#420013 - 10/27/11 02:39 PM Re: Belize All Clear As Rina Retreats [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

VIDEO: NEMO announces "All Clear" as Hurricane Rina passes Belize



PlusTV


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