Last night, we told you about the NEMO Advisory which warned residents of the Belize River Valley Community to be vigilant of the flood waters rolling down from the Cayo District. That flood was caused by the weekend rains which inundated the entire Country.

NEMO said that their personnel would be out on the Belize River today along with the BDF. Well, they invited 7News to accompany them, and we went along to see how the rising river was affecting the nearby villages.

Daniel Ortiz has that story:

NEMO Minister Edmond Castro and his team started their information gathering today with a trip on the Belize River.

The intention was to survey and catalogue the interaction of the flood waters rushing down from the Cayo District and to see how the swell of the river was affecting the River Valley Community.

For this mission, they worked with the BDF Boat Unit who provided safe passage throughout our chosen route.

But to make this journey, the captain only had one speed, maxed out.

That’s because we were going upstream with a flooded river rushing past as fast as it could.

Whenever the vessel slowed down enough, the strong current prevented any forward momentum.

So at top speed in a vessel designed for combat driving, did have its moments of humour.

It may look like the trip was a waste of time, but the NEMO experts on board were collecting a lot of intel. on the progress of this flood.

Calbert Budd - NEMO Coordinator, Belize Rural

"Right now, we’re in Grace Bank, over there we have Mexico Creek, whenever the rain water comes, the creek run out the water to the river. Whenever the river gets high, the creek starts taking back the water from the river and then it goes up and it spread over land to the savannah to the back and when all those savannah fill and the river gets full, then it comes over land and that's what cause the flooding."

"Right here on the corner you have Muscle Creek; Muscle Creek also take in water. If you notice the river is going down, last night it feel about 4 inches, 3 to 4 inches and it's because Muscle Creek, Mexico Creek and you have Black Creek a little bit higher is taking in the water."

This is all valuable information for the continued flood watch, and so, the NEMO team travelled the entire length of the waterway that belongs to the river valley community.

Once the BDF dropped us on land once again - about an hour and a half later - Castro took us with him on a survey to see just how these flood waters from the west were affecting residents of the different community.

We found some farming families struggling with their entire properties covered with water.

This lady’s poultry appeared under stress, the ducks appeared right at home.

She went looking for her 8 head of cattle, and took us along to see how the animals were scrambling for dry, high ground.

She gave up, but we eventually found them a long distance away.

Another resident told us how her family depends on cattle to survive.

Daniel Ortiz

"Do the cattle starve because of this?"

Elmita Wagner - Resident, Scotland Halfmoon

"Usually after the floods some of them die because they must catch disease, something I don't know. Chicken and everything dies so it's kind of hard. To bring food stuff is a hard problem because you have to back it; if you have no pick-up you have to back it and bring it in under water."

Daniel Ortiz

"Do you and your family sell cattle or just for your consumption?"

Elmita Wagner - Resident, Scotland Halfmoon

"For our consumption."

Daniel Ortiz

"You all raise cattle to feed your family?"

Elmita Wagner - Resident, Scotland Halfmoon


Daniel Ortiz

"When one cattle dies because of floods how much meat, how much food is that for your family that has been wasted? How many days or weeks you would say?"

Elmita Wagner - Resident, Scotland Halfmoon

"I would say a month."

So as the Head NEMO representative in charge of relief efforts, Castro says that help is on the way for these farmers.

Hon. Edmond Castro - Minister of NEMO

"I’m a hands on type of minster. I want to see first-hand being out here with my constituency to see the condition, the level of the water, the height of the water coming over the river bank and so on. And at the same time see what measures we need to take in the next day or two in terms of the reliefs and supplies for the residence in the Belize River valley area and also the relief as it relates to the agricultural aspect, especially the livestock. If you notice the cattle in the back here, they are in water. I would say about 75% of the land is covered with water so we definitely will have to try and see how we can assist the farmers in the Belize River valley area."

Over the weekend, Castro visited the villages of Hope Creek and Sarawee. He has also visited villages in the Toledo District, and on Friday, he’ll be traveling to Gales Point, Manatee to survey the damage there.

Channel 7

Flooding Affects 8-Mile Community

The southern part of Belize was the most affected over the past weekend when heavy rains came down. Roads and other infrastructure were submerged under water and became passable when the waters receded. Hundreds of residents had to be taken to shelters. That was on Saturday and Sunday in Toledo, but this morning the gushing waters came down unexpectedly at the Mile Eight Community on the George Price Highway. Residents woke up to find the worst flooding they have experienced. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The incessant rains that prevailed over most of central, western and southern Belize over the past few days have flooded parts of the country, including areas where there was not much rainfall.  One such community is Eight Miles, where water has inundated majority of the streets off the George Price Highway.  Residents were taken aback when they woke up and found that floodwater had covered their properties.

Noel Jones

Noel Jones, Resident, Eight Mile Community

“Well up ya usually flood when we have wahn lotta rain and most ah di time when ih rain inland.  When ih staat to, when di river dehn up da side get full all did time ih usually come down and come this side ya because ih haftu run out to sea.  That’s why we have flood ya sometime.”

Isani Cayetano

“This particular flood, when did you notice the water level rising?”

Noel Jones

“Day before yesterday.”

Isani Cayetano

“And what has that been like?”

Noel Jones

“Well ih come up slow, ih noh come up fast because yesterday when I come from town because ah bring mi grandson from school.  When ah park out deh because di water was in here.  So ah park out there and this morning when I get up we had water bout that from the wheel and this stone ya was nearly covered.”

Diana Jones

In the seven years that the Jones family has lived here, this is the worst they’ve ever seen the water rise.

Diana Jones, Resident, Eight Mile Community

“This street usually high but I feel like due to that when dehn grade the street, the height ah di street, di level gone down.  That just contribute to the height ah di wata, you know, because usually ih neva all that, this high.  But wi di get use to it noh, couple more days ih wahn probably go down so.”

While Eight Miles is a low-lying or flood prone area, the water seems to be receding rapidly, creating significant currents in specific areas. This is one of several elevated structures where water has engulfed everything beneath.

Voice of: Resident, Eight Mile Community

“From last night, last night.  It started early last night, it started to raise and we were monitoring it but it just went really fast and nothing really hectic to me.  I’m use to it but not like this.”

Isani Cayetano

“I would want to think that in Belize City and the immediate area it had stopped raining constantly since either the day before or what have you.  So a majority of this water is water that is coming down from inland?”

Voice of: Resident

“Yes, I would say it’s probably the floodwater because from like Monday we haven’t gotten any rain.  So I would say it’s probably the floodwater that’s doing this right now to Eight Miles.”

Isani Cayetano

“How has it impeded your ability to move around within the area and to access the main highway to get down to Belize City or to get to the shops outside?”

Voice of: Resident

“Well, it’s very hard.  We haven’t come out from our house.  Well actually I hadn’t come out until today and I haven’t reached the shop as yet, just taking a walk today and seeing it like this is very hectic to reach to the Chiney from our area because everywhere is flooded.”

For the Joneses, the flood hasn’t inconvenienced them much since they stock up on groceries in the city once-a-week.

Isani Cayetano

“How does this inconvenience your everyday flow?”

Noel Jones

“Just that yo haftu walk eena wata and ih no good because sometimes yo got on yo shoes and when yo tek it off yo could ketch cold.  So ih da wahn inconvenience to yo, that’s all.  But we scarcely go da shop because we most we go and do we grocery shopping pan weekend in Belize and that run we fu di week.  So every Friday or Saturday we go down and buy we grocery so we scarcely go da di shop out here.”

Isani Cayetano

“Has there been any appeal by either yourself as the Jones familyor residents of Eight Miles to have the area rep or someone in authority look at the situation where indeed it is a low-lying area but more can be down to elevate the streets?”

Noel Jones

“Well, eena one way dehn seh dehn wahn try help and ting but ih tek time, yo cyant expect dehn fu do it immediately and ting so ih tek time for it.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Channel 5

NEMO Minister on the ground in the Belize River Valley