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#477413 - 11/14/13 10:44 AM Flash flood in Western Belize
Marty Offline

1 hour ago: An overnight flash flood in Western Belize has caused some major damage. Reports are that water from the creek in Hillview area of Santa Elena knocked over a house. No report of human injuries but other houses are reported to have been flooded out. In Central Farm, the bridge was covered with water at one point around 3 am and when the water started to recede it was evident that major damage had been done. The bridge and the George Price Highway remains intact; but the shoulders of the highway from the bridge to the Galen University campus were washed away, leaving two and three foot deep craters. Huge amount of debris has been deposited in the area. We'll keep monitoring this situation.

Some houses in near the primary school in Santa Elena still have water inside. NEMO officials were out from around 2 am assisting victims of the flash flooding.

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#477489 - 11/15/13 09:56 AM Re: Flash flood in Western Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Flood Coursed Through Galen Campus

Galen University, a few miles outside of Santa Elena, had to close down their campus today because the flood dumped mud all over their campus grounds, and inside most of their buildings.

Today, the Director in the Officer of Student Affairs at the University explained what the faculty and staff encountered when they opened up this morning:

Monica Chun, Director of Student Affairs, Galen University
"This morning when we came in it was a complete disaster. Starting with the just the flooring it was covered in mud, the entire thing and then the books, especially the ones closer to the floor are completely damaged and we have to get rid of them because we can't really salvaged those anymore. Then our doors which are glass doors are actually broken from the pressure of the water from last night."

"Apart from the library we have; indoors, the restrooms that were just messed up with the mud and the other classrooms here in campus. Our faculty office was covered in mud and basically the entire lower flat of the campus."

"Moving outside we have under our palapas where we would have the furniture for students - all that is gone. The cafeteria is practically a mess for now, but that's being taken care of now. We are ensuring that we are disinfecting everything and that it's being cleaned before students can come on campus and go on as per normal."

"In terms of our classes because that's a big part of what we do, we are taking out classes for tomorrow up to the Belmopan Campus since we have additional classrooms there. This is where they will sit in their classes for the day. We will evaluate the situation up until tomorrow which will determined for our Saturday classes and then in the upcoming week."

"For now we are just monitoring the situation overall and in terms of the learning experience its definitely something that we weren't anticipating for the most part and we will as we are doing right now try to get things back together and then see what plan we will have in place should this happen and especially if we may have (hope it doesn't) students on campus the next time around."

NEMO also sent out a warning to communities near the Sibun and Belize Rivers to remain vigilant because it is expected that the flood waters from Belize will make its way to these areas via the Mopan and Macal Rivers.


Flash Flood Strikes The West

Last night a flash flood hit the San Ignacio/Santa Elena and surrounding areas. IT washed out the bridge at Cristo Rey and wreaked all kinds of havoc in other areas. Work was done to repair the bridge today.

The major concern, though, is 20 families who were surprised by the flash flood in Santa Elena. Most of them woke up to water inside their house, but for 2 families in the Hill View Area, experienced the most dangerous elements of the flooding.

According to the Thompson and Requena families, the flash flood with over 6 feet of water slammed into their houses. Fortunately, they woke when the waters started to rise, and they got their families out. That's the good news, and that's all they were able to save: their lives. The flood did major damage to their homes destroying all of their belongings, and they spoke to us about how a mere few minutes of water did so much damage:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
This morning, Calbert Thompson stood in his Kitchen looking at what used to be his bedroom.

That along, with half of his house was torn off and washed away in the strong current of the flash flood which caught him and his family off-guard early this morning.

He had very little time to react and get his family out before the torrential waters picked up the house off its concrete and steel reinforced stilts, and slammed it into trees about 30 feet away.

Calbert Flowers - Home Destroyed by Flash Flood
"We managed to get out and by the time we went out to the road the house went down with everything. We lost everything, we didnt get anything, only the suite of clothes on our body."

What you're looking at is the remainder of his DRIVE way.

All he and his friends could do was fish his personal belongings out of creek left behind in the wake of the flood:

Calbert Flowers - Home Destroyed by Flash Flood
"It came with heavy current and when I step from the last step which was the bottom one onto the earth (I am like 5' 8" tall) water was at my neck. I had to hold up my little daughter and then try to balance my wife floating a little bit so that she could reach the higher ground. By the time we made it to higher ground that was when the house gave way, debris from wherever wash the house over and that was it."

Virgilio Requena Sr. - Home Was Destroyed by Flash Flood
"I didn't like the idea about my friend what had happened to him. He and I were standing here and when he told me that his house was going and you could see plain how the water pressure came and lifts up the house and put it over there."

Calbert Flowers - Home Destroyed by Flash Flood
"You can't deal with mother nature. The most important thing is that our lives has been saved and I am glad for that."

His neighbor, Virgilio Requena Sr., fared a little better off because his house remained anchored. Nevertheless, it was equally dangerous for him and his family:

Virgilio Requena Sr. - Home Was Destroyed by Flash Flood
"All of us were sleeping, then what made I notice that the house was full of water was when the fan fell on top of my two babies."

Daniel Ortiz
"What happens when that happened sir? How did you know that water was inside?"

Virgilio Requena Sr. - Home Was Destroyed by Flash Flood
"When I peeped down the bed, I came out and grab my two babies, we couldn't get a chance save something else, we came out here and got wet up. Thank God that none of my children got hurt, nor my wife because my wife just came from an operation 12 days ago."

"Right now my friends and my children are trying to clean out and so because it is in a mess and everything got wet."

The Thompsons and the Requenas live at the bottom of a very steep hill. Simply looking at the landscape suggests that it is a possible flood hazard, but these bread winners say that the land they live on is very fertile and ideal for farming:

Virgilio Requena Sr. - Home Was Destroyed by Flash Flood
"It's a nice place. The soil is rich, but with this all my crops are gone. If you noticed over there I had plantains, potatoes, cassava, cocoa and I had pepper planted over this side. I can't reap anything now because it is all gone."

Calbert Flowers - Home Destroyed by Flash Flood
"All my animals are gone; sheep, chickens, rabbits - everything is dead. The only thing survived for animal was the dog."

So, what happens now for these devastated families?

Calbert Flowers - Home Destroyed by Flash Flood
"That's a hard question to answer, we don't really know. That's why we are depending on people maybe to help us. NEMO said they will help in trying to locate a house and try to get us under a cover before the night falls in. We need clothing because all our clothing is gone."

Virgilio Requena Sr. - Home Was Destroyed by Flash Flood
"My children came this morning and they took my wife to Esperanza because they have a house there. What we are trying to do is clean up the area and locked it up and moved to Esperanza until later on."

Daniel Ortiz
"Will you be living here at this house?"

Virgilio Requena Sr. - Home Was Destroyed by Flash Flood
"I don't think so. With that what happen, no."

Apart from the Cristo Reye Bridge, the flood waters forced the closure of the low-lying bridge between San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the Iguana Creek Bridge Bridge, the Pinol San Bridge, Privasson Bridge, Little Vaqueros Bridge, the Rio On Bridge, Guacamallo Bridge and the Spanish Lookout Bridge.

Channel 7


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