With the passage of Hurricane Earl, flooding waters are expected to descend on many communities. In the west, water levels at the Mopan and Macal Rivers surged, but according to the Deputy Mayor of the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the dam helped to significantly reduce flood waters. The low-lying bridge, however, was damaged, but the Hawkesworth withstood the hurricane and is operating to accommodate two-way traffic.
Michael Salazar, Deputy Mayor, San Ignacio, Santa Elena
ďOne of the issues we faced is that when people hear a category one hurricane, they didnít think that it was something that they should worry about and some people were of the impression that having the dam on our side to reduce some of the flooding, they should not have worried so much. But nevertheless, even with that situation, we still experienced some flooding. Yes, the dam did play an important role in reducing some of the flooding that we experienced here in San Ignacio. From what I remember growing up as a child in 1978 when we experienced Hurricane Greta, the flooding was far more devastating than it is now. We did try to warn some residents in the downtown area, the business community that in fact the flood would reach to a level that can affect them. Some of them did not heed to our warnings, but most of them went in and tried to remove some of their items. However, for most of them that didnít, got affected and the floods reached as far as the welcome center. From what I know back in, while I was growing up, that flood would reach all the way to Burns Avenue. But with Hurricane Earl, it did not go as far as that. It’s nearly back to normal. So far the water is receding and it is going down river and of course those villages along the river must take warning that they will now experience flooding as the water goes that way. We are basically fixing and working on different areas where the water has made some damage. Just to make mention that the low-lying wooden bridge is also affected and we are just waiting for the water to go lower so that we can start working on that bridge because we were made to understand that it has damaged that bridge. So at this very moment, the Hawkesworth Bridge is working as a two-way.Ē
In other communities in rural Belize District, residents are bracing for the expected flooding.