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#508346 - 10/18/15 11:03 AM Flooding news and photos  
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The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has issued a public advisory encouraging all residents in low-lying, flood-prone areas to remain vigilant and to become familiar with emergency numbers in the event of an emergency situation.

NEMO has also advised that more flooding is expected. People on the cayes, those who live along rivers, creeks, water ways, low-lying areas, farmers and fisher folks, are cautioned to heed the advisory and take the necessary precautions to save life. Drivers are asked to slow down and put on their hazard lights when driving through rain.

According to NEMO, three families, a total of 15 people in Stann Creek have been rescued by Belize Association for Search and Rescue (BASAR) and are now safe and dry in the Hope Creek Methodist School Shelter. They were returned home after it stopped raining and the water receded in Hope Creek, Sarawee and Dangriga.

The organization said it will remain on alert. NEMO Emergency Coordinators can be reached as follows: Corozal, Williard Levy at 623-0237; Orange Walk, Suliema Celiz at 605-5046; Belize District, Calbert Budd at 602-8632 and Kevin Pollard at 621-2275; San Pedro, Timrose Augustine at 600-8672; Belmopan, Clare Moody at 630-9791; Cayo, Al Westby at 630-3224; Stann Creek, Victor Castillo at 630-9780; and Toledo, Kenton Parham at 630-9787. The NEMO Emergency Hotline is 936.

NEMO also encourages the public to play close attention to weather updates from the National Meteorological Service. More rain is expected along the coast and Northern areas of the country. Captains of small crafts are advised to take caution and all are advised to stay out of flood waters.


In San Pedro, Tune into Channel 20 on your TV or 92.3 FM on your radio for a weather update from NEMO and local authorities.


Belize Electricity Limited advises the public to take the necessary precautions while flooding affects several communities; and provides the following safety tips:
• If you are leaving your premises and suspect that there will be flooding, turn off the main circuit breaker and all appliances before you leave.
• Do not touch appliances, cords or electrical tools or plugs with wet hands or while standing on a wet surface. Do not put electrical tools, appliances or cords in water. Do not use power tools that were immersed in water.
• Turn off the main breaker if the water level threatens to rise near or above outlets and ensure that the entire premise is disconnected from any electrical source. Do not walk into any area of water that may be connected to an electrical source.
• Keep away from fallen power lines. Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
• Report fallen power lines to BEL immediately.
• Do not go to any of BEL’s power stations or substations.
In the event there is loss of power supply due to damages caused by flooding, the Company will dispatch crews to conduct power restoration works once it is safe to do so.
To report hazards or damages, call BEL toll free at: 0-800-BEL-CARE OR 0-800-235-2273

#508350 - 10/18/15 11:29 AM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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Click photos for more pictures!

We drove around Corozal Town and noted the area most affected by the flooding is the core of the Chula Vista Area. Because the area sits in a concave, its is likely to flood easier than the rest of the town. Certainly some mitigation is required in this area, as we saw residents and their families standing knee deep in water. Their homes entirely flooded.

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Sarteneja/Chunox Road around 4:30 yesterday afternoon.

#508369 - 10/19/15 11:00 AM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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Flooding situation in Belize worsens

The area of low pressure moving away from Belize continues to cause heavy rainfall, particularly in Belize City, where the City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) had to be activated during the night to assist 50 people from the Conch Shell Bay due to severe flooding.

According to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) the residents were evacuated to the UB Building shelter at ITVET and are now safe.

There was also a fire on Supal Street Saturday night caused by an electrical wire which fell on a building, damaging part of the structure and causing several vehicles to go up in flames along with it.

Also on Saturday night, a house fell on Jasmine Street and unconfirmed reports indicate a six year-old child was injured. A family stranded on the Antelope Extension was rescued Sunday morning by the Belize National Coast Guard. The Belize Defense Force (BDF) has been deployed to assist CEMO in other areas of the City as required.

CEMO has urged the public to not drive around in low, small vehicles. Residents are asked to be very careful as they move about the City due to the amount of debris on the streets.

According to NEMO, there are no reports of flooding in other parts of the country at this time. In the coming days rain will continue according to the forecast and more flooding is anticipated. Residents along rivers, creeks, water ways and low-lying areas whose homes are likely to flood are cautioned to move to a high ground with family or to a community shelter. Farmers are advised to start making the necessary preparations for their livestock and crops. Drivers are asked to slow down and to put on their hazard lights when driving through rain.

Belize City Emergency Operations Center can be reached at 227-0056 and Councilor Phillip Willoughby can be reached at 630-979 or Wayne Usher at 610-3415. The NEMO Emergency Hotline is 936, other NEMO Emergency Coordinators can be reached as follows: Belize District, Calbert Budd at 602-8632 and Kevin Pollard at 621-2275; San Pedro, Timrose Augustine at 600-8672; Belmopan, Clare Moody at 630-9791; Cayo, Al Westby at 630-3224; Stann Creek, Victor Castillo at 630-9780; and Toledo, Kenton Parham at 630-9787.

The public is asked to continue pay close attention the National Meteorological Service weather reports and NEMO advisories. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has also called an emergency press conference for Sunday afternoon and The Reporter will have updates.

PM holds emergency press conference to update on flood situation

Prime Minister Dean Barrow held an emergency press conference on Sunday afternoon to update on the National Emergency Management Organization’s (NEMO) operations and to caution Belizeans to remain vigilant as flood conditions are expected to continue.

Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez informed the public that Belize City, which has been the most impacted area, will see another six to eight inches of rain between Sunday night and Monday morning. For context, Belize has experienced about 10 inches of rain over the last 36 hours and has caused floods up to two-and-a-half-feet in some areas.

Schools at all levels have been canceled in Belize City and Barrow has encouraged all business people to stay updated with weather conditions and to communicate with employees accordingly but to make reasonable decisions. Several shelters have been opened in the City and more will be opened on a basis of necessity, NEMO Minister Godwin Hulse explained.

Maud Williams high-school has been activated as a shelter and so has Gwen Lizarraga, however, Gwen Liz will be closed because Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) had to cut electricity in that area due to safety hazards. Coast Guard personnel has also been having problems accessing the area.

Hulse also indicated that NEMO is facilitating the movement of people from the south to the north of the City. Eastern Division South Commander, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams and Eastern Division North Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Desiree Phillips have been coordinating, moving people from shelter to shelter.

While Belize City has suffered the brunt of the flooding, NEMO continues to monitor Orange Walk, Corozal, Stann Creek and Toledo for possible floods and is prepared in the event similar situations develop in those areas.

NEMO has also activated it warehouses in Belmopan and Ladyville to ensure that food supplies are transported to all opened shelters in the City.

Hulse has also called on businesses to not increase prices during this time and reminded that ‘price-gouging’ is illegal. He said that in areas likely to have power issues, generators have already been activated in nearby shelters. He also urged people in shelters to behave appropriately and follow the rule of law. He reminded, also, that the Ministry of Health has advised that no one should be playing in the water as it could cause health issues.

Over 100 people have been placed in shelters, as of the last headcount, Councilor Phillip Willoughby said. He added that some people have left, but CEMO is encouraging people to remain at the shelters until the all clear is given.

Barrow assured that a state of emergency has not yet been called and that the government would be doing everything in its power to assist the people most in need.

The Reporter

#508370 - 10/19/15 11:04 AM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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Incessant Rains Flood Belize City, More Rain Expected
Belize City has been the area most affected in the country as an area of low pressure passing over the region has been dumping large amounts of water in the area since Friday evening, October 16, 2015. Flooding has placed the city at a standstill with emergency management organizations working on evacuating affected residents. Ten inches of fallen rain has been reported in Belize City for the past 36 hours and six to eight more inches are expected to fall tonight, Sunday, October 18, 2015, with more rain expected well into Tuesday, October 20, and the weather to start clearing up by Wednesday. The Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) held a press conference today at 1:30p.m. to address some issues related to the bad weather affecting the region. Although there is extensive flooding in Belize City, NEMO has not declared a state of emergency or disaster in the city and the situation is being monitored as emergency management organizations are addressing the current situation.

Click photos for more pictures!

A VERY wet weekend on La Isla Bonita!

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Belize City is suffering from extreme flooding as a result of the weather system that has parked itself over Belize for the last several days. Just sharing more pictures i took as I moved around Belize City today. Thanks to my son William Anthony Reid for driving me around. Wish i could have helped everybody I met. Kudos to Anita Bell for agreeing to give an Interview live on KREM. Stay safe my people! God bless!

The Rain and Invest 92L Seems Relentless Right Now…All Over the Country of Belize
Take to social media and what you see is photos of rain…what seems like relentless rain over this weekend. A Tropical Depression that is called 92L and now to our west but followed by heavy showers and not-insignificant winds. Belize Hydromet – our local radar system shows this: The San Pedro Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) met at midday today, Sunday, October 18, 2015, to discuss the weather situation on the island. A tour of the island was conducted by NEMO personnel, other authorities and volunteers. The view from the balcony I am on shows HARD rain. But I am lucky to be in this spot…by the beach, a few feet above sea level. Because much of the coastline is not.

Click photos for more pictures!

The San Pedro Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) met for the second time since it was partially activated. At 7:20PM today, Sunday, October 18, 2015, the EOC was updated on the weather condition and the state of the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.

A tour of the island of Ambergris Caye was conducted by all members of the EOC.

Several areas of the island were observed to be inundated especially along the lagoon in the areas of San Mateo, Boca del Rio, San Juan, San Pedrito and San Pablo and in some areas of DFC. Some areas were observed to be inundated between seven to 12 inches high.

The EOC also observed sever beach erosion along the eastern beach coastline of the island.

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Thanks Dwayne Murillo for these images of Belize City

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Flooding in Belize City. Images courtesy of Dwayne Murillo

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This is how the bus terminal looked like in Belize City.

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houses inundated by water in low lying areas of Belize City

Corozal flooding video clips

Flooding in Belize, Corozal and Chetumal

This Low Development was unexpected in Central America. Belize, Guatemala, Chetumal, Mexico got the most rain and damage. Trees where knock down, cable strong winds blow away stuffs and even flood was called in. Well, in this video you can see the after math or during the low depression how bad it was. Well, enjoy this video I clip made by Jay Eiey.

Belize City Flooding

Belize City flooding on 10/18/2015.

Belize City Flood, October 18th 2015

Severe flooding in Belize City on October 18th, 2015. Severe damage to the city, some lives were lost or altered.

#508383 - 10/19/15 06:28 PM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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Photo of San Pedro this morning...

Classes canceled for all of San Pedro and Caye Caulker today - Because of the inundated areas and extreme levels of high tides and for health concerns, following the rain yesterday and last night, the San Pedro Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) has decided that there be no classes today Monday, October 19 for the entire island of San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker.

San Pedro Fairs Well Over Stormy Wet Weekend

It rained and rained and rained over the weekend, as an area of low pressured dumped over a foot of rainfall mostly over the northern part of Belize. Belize City was the area hit the hardest as extreme flooding called for emergency planning and action.

But despite all that rain, the situation in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye was mostly wet with no major flooding or emergency situations taking place. The San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) did report though, that a family of three individuals was evacuated from their home early Sunday morning and that they remain in a shelter. Boat owners had the difficult task of keeping their vessels afloat and properties remain waterlooged and/or flooded, but the cobblestone streets in downtown San Pedro drained quickly and made for ease of getting around.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today

#508397 - 10/20/15 11:13 AM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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Low Pressure System Dumps 10 Inches of Rain On City, Produces Mass Flooding

October has been known as the stormiest month in Belize with many terrible hurricanes developing, including Hattie, and more recently Iris and Richard. But this weekend, it wasn't a storm; it was a low-pressure system that sat over central and northern Belize and produced copious showers and thunderstorms over a 32 hour time frame.

It left the city swamped, with many areas submerged. 7News was out in the rain all day yesterday - and Daniel Ortiz has this story:

Daniel Ortiz reporting After continuous downpour of rain for more than 30 hours, most Belize City streets were inundated on Sunday.

Areas hardest hit were Lake Independence, Collet, and Port Loyola. Even some of the well-built areas like the Pallotti Roundabout weren't spared.

Though most business were closed, and the rain continued unabated, residents still had to do their daily shopping.

So, most of them braved getting soaked. Umbrellas were all about, and this family even put their baby in a makeshift raincoat made out of plastic bag but to walk on these streets, there was no avoiding this flood.

Some waded through ankle-deep waters, some with the water reaching their knees, even bicycle wheels, were almost being covered.

One rider chose to put his bike on his shoulder. The water was so high that it covered wheel wells of lower cars, and most definitely got into the homes of some City residents, and destroyed their electrical appliances.

In some areas, we couldn't see where the streets ended, and where yards began, looking eerily like swamps.

We found one family trapped in their homes with young babies, hoping that CEMO would be able to get them out.

This mother had to put her child on her back to get him safely into their house.

This lady gave up on her umbrella, after all, the bottom third of her body was already below the water. It appeared to be quite a struggle to make her way down this main thoroughfare.

It's expected that the damages families experienced might amount to several millions. But while there will be an intensive recovery effort, the weekend flood wasn't all bad for all the city residents.

For some of them, the street corner became an outdoor pool or a makeshift waterpark. This young man danced out on his street corner, while this one floated his way down the street.

These two dove into the drain, and one of them became fully submerged. This family used a life raft to give this baby a nice ride.

There were quite a number of residents who appeared to enjoy being out in the rain.

But, for those who's homes and possessions were destroyed, they will not forget this weekend, when streets became slow-moving rivers…

Rivers in need of "no wake zone" signs.

The weather system that affected Belize City also caused localized flooding in Northern Belize and sent 116 persons into shelters, in San Jose and San Estevan, Orange Walk, and Corozal Town.

But, the system didn't only affect Belize. Mexico and our Central American neighbors also experienced torrential rains and it caused massive flooding in those countries.

In Honduras, the local media are reporting that 7 deaths have been caused by the flooding, while in El Salvador, 4 more have reportedly been connected to the downpour.

Right now, in there Mexico has declared a state of emergency in Quintana Roo, and surrounding areas where 25 communities are cut off.

107 Storm Affected Persons Forced Into City Shelters

And so, that was yesterday. Today, it was the aftermath - picking up the pieces and cleaning up for those whose homes were flooded out, and figuring out what next for the over two hundred persons in shelters countrywide. In the city, the biggest shelter was the ITVET Building where Courtney Weatherburne found city residents in dire straits:...

Courtney Weatherburne
"I am walking in about 6 inches of water on the Antelope Extension. It's one of the most affected areas after the weekend downpour. This is what is left after 10 inches of rain fell in the city between Saturday and Sunday. That has left this vulnerable area inundated. Many residents were forced into shelters with little or no personal items. While the waters have receded and the rains have stop for now, it's still not enough for residents to return home."

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
It is in these classrooms that several families are staying- for now it's the closest thing to a home.

Shellimae Crawford, Nemo Coordinator
"What we have here now is what we have. We had to have people that were in the Gwen Lizarraga shelter were transferred over here because they were out of electricity. So they had them come over this side. So that is what we have."

Courtney Weatherburne
"How many people are here right now?"

Shellimae Crawford, Nemo Coordinator
"We have in this shelter, one of the shelters here at ITVET, we have 27 individuals that is made up of 11 families. And the other area we have 43 persons and that is also made up of 11 families."

22 families with young children and a bag of a few food supplies - it's hardly enough to survive on, but they say they have nothing else.

Courtney Weatherburne
"You are here with your family right, your daughter?"

Martha Gordon, Euphrates Resident
"Yes ma'am. Four kids, and a grandbaby."

Courtney Weatherburne
"How old is your grandbaby?"

Martha Gordon, Euphrates Resident
"2 years."

Courtney Weatherburne
"Tell us about the state of your house? You said everything pretty much washed away."

Martha Gordon, Euphrates Resident
"Yes ma'am, everything washed away in my house. Everything. We didn't save anything."

Courtney Weatherburne
"It's pretty much what you and your kids have on your back right now, that's all you own right now?"

Martha Gordon, Euphrates Resident
"Yes ma'am, that's all we have right now."

Oscar Palacios, Antelope Street Resident
"I was working yesterday. I am a security guard and my wife sent me a text saying to come home because the house was flooded. I ran home and I saw everything in water and I started to take out my family one by one. The water was up to my chest."

Courtney Weatherburne
"How old is your baby?"

Oscar Palacios, Antelope Street Resident
"2 months old."

Ernest Quionote, Flood Victim
"All the houses back there are low and lots of people were angry, because there are snakes and the children are playing in the water. A snake nearly bit me this morning in the water. I saw it when it was coming and I move out the way."

Marleni Quinote, Mother of 3
"When we were coming out, it was flooded. I couldn't come out and neither my 3 children. I was calling for help and they gave me so many numbers to call and my husband and I didn't know what to do because we got frustrated, because the water was in the house up to our knees and we were trying to take out the kids. We had a little refrigerator and we put our children in there and we bring them out in the refrigerator."

Sherilyn Seguro, Mother of 9
"I have 9 kids. I live at Antelope Extension and my mattress and all the clothes are wet. Whenever we leave from this shelter, I don't know where I will go."

Courtney Weatherburne
"You said you and your kids had to be carried out in a boat."

Sherilyn Seguro, Mother of 9
"If we even leave from here and get back to the house, how will we manage? I have my baby and I don't have anywhere else to go." Dislocated and hopeless - these families say they will have to stay in this shelter until the water fully recedes and their house and belongings dry. But in the meantime, what is the City Mayor doing to assist these flood victims?

Darrell Bradley, Mayor, Belize City
"At the present moment the assessment team from NEMO has been deployed throughout Belize City. There are two teams that are on the Southside of Belize City and there is one team on the Northside and each of those teams has representatives from CEMO that are along with them. The priority areas are concentrating on infrastructure and also housing needs and also urgent government buildings. The Ministry of Human Development are already providing relief in terms of cleaning supplies which have been a significant demand. Yesterday they provided emergency kits which have elements of food stuff in there. The Red Cross who were here were providing blankets. I know that the city administrator coordinated an effort in terms of getting clothing supplies. In terms of that, more structured response that you were getting at, that structured response will roll out immediately after a final report has been done and that will be done by NEMO. The Prime Minister advised yesterday that of course he will bring in line ministries; Ministry of Works, the Ministry of Human Development, the Ministry of Housing. But at the CEMO level, we are urging for that to be done as quickly as possible."

So, these families will have to stay put until that report is issued and a relief plan is finalized. But in natural disasters there are no quick fixes - and these folks know that they've got some trying days ahead.

At this point there are 107 people in shelters in the city. NEMO and Human development teams have been sent to both the Northside and Southside to assist flood victims. The two main areas that are still flooded among others are the Faber's Road Extension and the area behind the Complex Building. The Prime Minster will hold a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss the city relief plan.

Mayor: Floodwaters Ran Off Faster

But, Bradley also told us about the work they have done in other areas to alleviate the effects of flooding - specifically with the flood mitigation project. Bradley told us how this project has improved the run off period on several streets.

Darrell Bradley, Mayor, Belize City
"Belize City is at sea level and we are seeing major anomalies in terms of climate shifts. You had a period in Belize where you have within 6 weeks heavy heat and now you have had a situation of torrential rains. These weather patterns would be with us for some time and because we are at sea level this city will flood. This is why I made the comment in terms of the run off time. One thing that I will say is that the improvements with the flood mitigation project with the drainage works that the city has focused on over the last I would say year and a half, it has worked. Because immediately when the rain stopped we went out and we did an inspection of critical areas. Areas like Orange Street that always take water, Queen Street that always takes water, Freetown Road that always takes water. Princess Margaret Drive that always takes water. Hydes Lane that always takes water and when I mean takes water, I mean that water would be there for 24 hours, 48 hours after a rain has subsided and these areas were dry."

The Human (And Political) Emergency Of City Flooding

So...Belize City flooded out on Sunday - and most of the waters drained off by evening. But when the waters roll away - it exposes a city where many live in poor structures on the margins of poverty.

That's a human emergency, and with weeks to go before an election, also a political one. So, the floods prompted a prime ministerial press conference on Sunday. PM Barrow told the media that this is a natural disaster and requires the urgent attention it will receive.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"What is happening is a disaster, is a crisis, as precipitate an emergency small "E." We of course give thanks for the fact that as bad as it is, it could have been worse. I know that there is a state of emergency declared in neighboring Quintana Roo. We hear of bridged collapsing in Guatemala. So that of the areas that have been most directly affected, we in Belize seemed to be comparatively better off. Perhaps that's not the way to frame it. We are not as badly off as other areas in the other two countries. My senses is that the City Of Belize has been hardest hit. From what I gather, from what I can tell, both in terms of the messages that gave been sent, the briefings I've been given, the updates I've been provided with, NEMO and CEMO have done very well in deed in trying to cope initially with the problems."

Godwin Hulse, Minister of NEMO
"We have some difficulties there and in Orange Walk we have shelters there as well. We have some flooding in the North; in San Pablo and San Jose area and we are monitoring it. The waters there continue to rise. In the south, as Prime Minister mentioned we had an issue with Hope Creek and Sarawee, but the water has receded. Reports about 10 minutes ago that it is rising again, but we don't expect any significant rise. This is run offs from the various creeks that are coming down. I was in the area yesterday late."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"We will do everything that is required to put things back in a state of proper repair to assist those that have been affected with whatever the needs are."

So, how will this relief be rolled out? Well the Prime Minister and NEMO Minister Godwin Hulse explained that to us in detail:

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The Ministries of Housing, of Human Development and of Works will be the principal instrumentalities though which we will operate to ensure that infrastructural we do all that is required. Socially, in terms as I said providing things such as food stuff, clothing, bedding, whatever may be necessary. We will have the officials of the Ministry of Human Development completely on top of that. And in terms of our having heard about roofs having blown off one or two houses, having fallen down, the Ministry of Housing will be assisting NEMO and in some cases perhaps acting as the lead agency almost in terms of operationally getting the work done."

Godwin Hulse, Minister of NEMO
"We have already activated all our NEMO warehouses to provide food and that is already in chain for persons in these shelters. So both the warehouse in Belmopan, the warehouse in Ladyville and the warehouse in Orange Walk have been opened and the personnel in charge are already on their way with respect to feeding people in these shelters wherever they are."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"There must absolutely be no slippage at all with respect to the operational efficiency and the comprehensiveness of the response that I am committing the government to this afternoon."

Earlier in the news, you heard Mayor Darrell Bradley defending the effectiveness of his Council's flood mitigation program. But, did the one hundred plus concrete streets contribute to it? As you've seen in this newscast, Mayor Bradley has defended the structure of his council's program by explaining that the streets were in very bad condition, and putting in the required drainage would have been far outside the Council's budget, even with the 20 Million-Dollar Municipal Bond.

The Prime Minister was more willing to concede that drainage has to be a Government priority for Belize City:

Godwin Hulse, Minister of NEMO
"Mr. Bradley has advised us that 4 engineers are being deployed in the city to look at the flooding situation and I will simply say this that when I was in engineering school. One professor said to me 'floods are the best thing, because it tells you where your drains needs to go.' So we will be able to see what areas need to be cleared out etc. We hope it doesn't get any worse and we call for the corporation of everybody because we are in this together. As the Prime Minister has mentioned, the resources have been provided to NEMO, so there is no question that our object is of course is the safety of all our Belizean citizens and of course to keep them safe, is our first priority and then we will look at other needs as they may arise."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"You will know that when the concreting program first started in the city, it was not a companied by the kind of comprehensive drainage program that would have been ideal in the circumstances. There were always financial constraints and we started playing catch-up after a little while though and I think we made tremendous progress with respect to drainage. But we will see what the story is after the rains are over and the waters have receded. On a longer term basis, government will also address whatever shortcomings will be disclosed at the end. But naturally we are more concerned now with the immediate remedial problems."

Elections are only 2 weeks away, and so for the Barrow Government, the flood and its aftermath also pose a political hurdle. So, we had to ask the Prime Minister if the flooding could negatively impact his party's chances for a re-election. Here's how he answered that one:

Daniel Ortiz
"Are you concerned that the most vulnerable populations of Belize City, in the strongholds of the UDP will be sensed by the damaged that they have experience and will take it out on you all for the elections?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I am not sure if you were here right at the start. But I did say that no reasonable person can blame us for a natural disaster. We have no control over the weather. We have no control over climate change. We have no control over the fact that Belize City is below sea level. So if there are those who would still want to point a finger, I would simply ignore and dismiss that. What I've said is going to be very squarely in issue, is how we respond to the damage caused by circumstances beyond our control. How we respond is completely utterly within our control and that is where I repeat we have no fear of any kind of scorecard that anyone might want to keep, because we are absolutely determined that we will leave none of our Belize City residents behind."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is this in any way electioneering, the robust response to assist those whose been affected?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"You think we caused the weather to come?"

Daniel Ortiz
"I'm saying is there any opportunism at play?"

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I can't fault you for asking the question and doing what you conceived to be your job. And I could have some fun with that question. But I won't. Because this is a time for seriousness, not for levity. We are going to, through the means that are available to us as the government of the day, take care of every single citizen who has been affected. I don't know how you or anyone else could make an issue of the fact that we are in government and so we are going to be doing what the government is required to do and what the government must want to do. We are going to be embracing the opportunity to respond in the most muscular, robust, comprehensive complete way possible to the crisis and I'll leave it at that."

Channel 7

#508406 - 10/20/15 12:19 PM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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Belize City recovers from unprecedented flooding

Belize City, Western Highway


An area of low pressure affected the northern portion of the country over the weekend primarily low laying areas of Belize City and along communities that are near the Mopan, Belize River and Rio Hondo. On Sunday, the incessant rains prompted the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and the Government of Belize into action as they activated their emergency plans. The unexpected storm system damaged homes and business; caused traffic delays and crashes; created potholes and sinkholes; and felled trees. Despite the traffic headaches and damage, the much-needed rain was still a welcome sight for many. The rain blanketed Belize City, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, and came down hard and fast for hours since Friday night. Today, officials were out in full force to assess the flood damages.

#508416 - 10/20/15 03:16 PM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
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A Little Flooding on Ambergris Caye

... Belize City has taken the brunt of the storm. It's not over yet as rain is forecast for the next three days. After a six hour reprieve from the rain, the thunder and lightning suggests we could be in for quite a bit more rain. The cisterns and wells should now be brimming, after months of a very dry wet season.
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Ambergris Caye: A lot of beach washed out to sea

The local weather station shows 9" of rain since the 15th.
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#508420 - 10/20/15 05:09 PM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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From Belize City... Raining more, lots more

Heavy rainfall causes flooding across the country
Several areas in Belize remain under water, as a Tropical Depression has brought much rain to the southern Mexico and western Central American region. The inclement weather has been battering the northern region of Belize as of late Friday, October 16th, leaving severe flooding in its wake. The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has since been mobilized and is assisting those most affected. As Tropical Depression 2 moves out of the region, meteorologists expect that its low pressure will gradually become better organized and will evolve into the next named tropical storm by Thursday, October 22nd. Here in San Pedro, the weather primarily affected the San Mateo, Boca del Rio, San Juan, San Pedrito, San Pablo and DFC area. According to the San Pedro Emergency Operations Committee (EOC) a family of three were evacuated from the San Mateo Area and sheltered at the San Pedro High School (SPHS) until the water receded from their home.The SPHS was opened as the designated flood shelter for all individuals seeking refuge. In an effort to scope out the situation on the island, NEMO personnel along with the San Pedro Town Council and volunteers conducted several tours across the island to identify possible residents in need of help. The EOC also observed severe beach erosion along the eastern beach coastline of the island.

Today's forecast on La Isla Bonita.

#508442 - 10/21/15 10:27 AM Re: Flooding news and photos [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Worst flood in Belize City’s recent memory!

As we go to press, the roar of the thunder confirms the latest advisory issued tonight by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO)—that a new tropical disturbance right on our doorsteps will bring more rain and thunderstorms, even as northern Belize, and particular the Old Capital, Belize City, is reeling from what many perceive to be the most devastating flood in recent memory.

The catastrophic flood caused by a tropical depression associated with a broad area of disturbance spanning Mexico and parts of Central America, has been described as the largest weather event to affect Belize City since Hurricane Hattie, which hit Belize in this same month in 1961.

The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, and NEMO held a press conference on Sunday October 18, to address this high-impact weather event that has affected Belize City and other parts of the country, including the districts of Orange Walk and Corozal. Widespread flooding forced the closure of schools on these three districts in central and northern Belize, including the islands of Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. There were also reports of localized but substantial flooding in Hope Creek, Stann Creek.

Flood Montage

Despite the extensive flooding in Belize City—with 10 inches of rain falling in the 36 hours preceding Sunday’s press conference and another 6-8 inches forecast for the hours ahead—no state of emergency was declared.

The Prime Minister described the massive flood that inundated Belize City and other parts of country on Sunday as a “disaster”.

He said it was a crisis that has precipitated an emergency – small “e,” and added, “While we can’t control the weather—while we can’t control what has happened, we certainly can control our response to the disaster and basically my principal duty here today is to mention that we will do everything required to assist those who have been affected, whatever their needs.”

Also seated at the head table were Godwin Hulse, Minister responsible for NEMO; Michael Finnegan, Minister responsible for Housing; Anthony Martinez, Minister responsible for Human Development; Dennis Gonguez, Chief Meteorologist; and Colonel Defoe, Logistics Officer at NEMO.

No mass evacuations had been ordered in Belize City either, as NEMO personnel are working on case-by-case situations when it comes to evacuating residents whose homes had been flooded. Getting in and out of the city has been problematic as streets, roads, and highways are flooded.

The City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) was activated during the night on Saturday and assisted some 50 persons from the Conch Shell Bay area who had to be evacuated to the University of Belize’s building at ITVET, which is a designated shelter. At the time of Sunday’s press conference, an official said that 100 people were in shelters.

Although NEMO had said that there are no reports of flooding in other parts of the country at the time, we later learned that indeed, other parts of northern Belize had been seriously impacted.

There were media reports yesterday from Quintana Roo, Mexico, of extensive flooding in Chetumal and subsequent images of damaged infrastructure there.

The Commercial Free Zone’s office in Corozal was closed today, and it was confirmed that the downpour had also drenched the Zone, frequented by Mexican shoppers.

The bridge that connects Belize and Mexico was also under substantial water, making it difficult for vehicles to navigate.

In the coming days, rain will continue according to the forecast and more flooding is anticipated, as flood waters head west.

Residents along rivers, creeks, waterways and low-lying areas whose homes are likely to flood are cautioned to move to a higher ground with family or to a community shelter.

Farmers are advised to start making the necessary preparations for their livestock and crops.

Drivers are asked to slow down and to put on their hazard lights when driving through rain.

In the surrounding countries, heavy rain has been affecting parts of Honduras since 17 October 2015, triggering floods, landslides and overflowing rivers. Local media report that at least 7 people have died in floods in the Comayagua department. As many as 2,000 people have been left homeless in Siguatepeque and the local authorities there have declared a state of emergency.

In Guatemala, the weather has been devastating and the government is still recovering from one of the country’s deadliest natural disasters, when heavy rain resulted in a landslide in the community of El Cambray II, Santa Catarina Pinula municipality on October 2, which left hundreds dead and over 300 missing.

So far, no deaths have been reported in Belize. However, at least one child was reportedly injured when the family’s home fell in Belize City.

We have yet to receive a report on the extent of the impacts, but NEMO representatives have initiated that assessment, the results of which are expected in the days ahead, even as the toll may continue to rise.

“People living along the Macal and Mopan rivers must remain vigilant. The river is now rising and reports are that the Mopan River at La Polvora in Peten, Guatemala is at high flood state. This was reported by the Cayo District Emergency Coordinator, who is visiting and warning the communities along the Mopan River. As the water heads down-stream it will cause severe flooding in Western and Central Belize. The Communities of Arenal, Benque Viejo, Succotz, Calla Creek, Bullet Tree Falls and Santa Familiar must pay particular attention to this notice,” NEMO’s latest advisory says.

It warns that “…additional rains associated with the new area of low pressure is of concern and all must continue to pay close attention to NEMO advisories.”


The Return Of Raincoats

If you were out in the rain as much as we were this weekend - you might have noticed that Police officers don't have any rain gear: no rain hats, no rain coats, no boots. And those polyester uniforms don't hold up too well in the rain…so what happened to the raincoats you might have seen the cops wearing if you grew up in the 80's or 90's? The commander Southside told us that those have been on a 15 year rain check:..

Sr. Supt Chester Williams - Commander, Eastern Division Southside
"Police officers do not have the right equipment to be able to deal with the type of weather conditions. In the past we were issued with raincoats, but of recent, going back to at least about 10-15 years we have not been issue with raincoats anymore and I think that is something that we need to look at and try to see how best we could procure some raincoats for our officers."

The CEO in the Ministry of National Security has authorized Williams to source raincoats for Eastern Division officers.

Picking Up The Pieces After The Flood

Is the situation any better for flood victims? Can they return home? That's what we went to find out today. As we showed you yesterday about 10 inches of rain fell on the city during the weekend. The city was inundated - and residents had to walk and even float through the flood waters to get around. Many had to be evacuated and taken to shelters because their houses were completely flooded and belongings destroyed. While the water has receded on some streets, others are still flooded and the forecast for more showers pose the threat that water levels could rise again.

That is the main concern for Antelope Street Extension resident Oscar Palacios. We spoke to him yesterday at the ITVET shelter but he and his family went back home this morning. We met him and his children cleaning up the house and trying to salvage the little they had left after the flood.

Courtney Weatherburne
"When you left Saturday, the water completely covered the bridge."

Oscar Palacios, Flood Victim
"We couldn't see the bridge. The water was already coming into the house. I went outside because I knew where the bridge was and where I could stand and that's why I came out and I took my family out. Because if I waited for help, help would not come to try and help me to take out my family."

Courtney Weatherburne
"As you said, in your house now, the water also came in here and flooded everything soaked."

Oscar Palacios, Flood Victim
"Yes all my clothes are wet, everything is wet. I put some clothes to dry and try clean up my house a little bit because it looks messed up. The water left everything messed up. You see out there all the dirt; pampers and everything out there. I don't know what will happen after this because it looks like it's raining hard again."

Courtney Weatherburne
"Now if the water rises again and washes away all your things and comes into the house, you have to go back to the shelter?"

Oscar Palacios, Flood Victim
"Well if the water is rising yes. I have to go. I can't wait here. I have 3 small kids and I don't want them to die because I couldn't take them out."

Courtney Weatherburne
"Right now what do you have in your possession? Do you have food supplies? Do you have any dry clothes right now?"

Oscar Palacios, Flood Victim
"I just have one shirt left and short pants. For the babies, I have like 3 more suit of clothes dry. And food, I don't have enough food. I just have a small Dak and one pack of corn flakes that they gave me. I don't have like rice, flour or sugar - I don't have that."

As you heard, Palacios is in need of basic necessities just as many other residents at the shelters and those who chose to wait it out at home do. Well, when we spoke to Councilor Phillip Willoughby he told us that they are working on a coordinated response and relief plan but that residents need to be patient. Today he told us about the infrastructural works that are being done to alleviate the flooding on streets and gave us a brief update on that relief plan.

Phillip Willoughby, Councillor
"Well basically what happened, we started about 7am thereabout. Mr. Berges, his engineer along with personnel BEL, BTL and WASA were contacted. I believe the WASA crew is out here as we try to make some adjustments to the infrastructure so that as to have the water flowing off in a more fast and rapid fashion. On the ground are the personnel from Ministry of Natural Resources who is responsible for the damage assessment and need analysis, who fall under the Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega his CEO Ms. Sharon Ramclam and her liaison officer Ms. Alvarez. They are the ones who along with their staff are coordinating the assessments. They have been on the ground again since morning - the relief and supplies committee. The personnel are on the ground. It's all hands on deck. I know it's rather difficult to hear an individual saying to another 'please wait, we are coming, we are on our way.' I know that is rather difficult to understand because I am not in that shoe on that end feeling the blunt of the system and how it affected the residents. But all I can say, please give us a little window."

There are 13 families currently at one of the ITVET shelters, more families went in last night and today, replacing the few that left. At the YWCA Shelter, there are 5 families left. In terms of the condition of Antelope Street - which was one of the hardest hit - the water has gone down significantly.

This is how it looked yesterday …… and this is how it looked today. Other streets such as Freetown and Queen Street have also improved.

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