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#7113 - 10/05/00 02:36 PM Belizeans Patch Up After Keith - AP wire story
Marty Offline
October 04, 2000 1:40 AM EDT

BELIZE CITY, Belize (AP) -- Paula Sudherlanda didn't have much before
Hurricane Keith. Now she has even less.


Keith's high winds ripped large pieces of the corrugated aluminum and
plywood off the roof of her two-room shack. Buckets of rain poured in
through the gaping holes left behind, soaking her clothes and her mattress
and warping old linoleum floors.


Her front yard is now a swamp.


``I'll have to find somewhere to sleep tonight,'' Sudherlanda said Tuesday,
her bare feet stepping gingerly across bobbing wooden slats, plywood squares
and aluminum shards that formed a makeshift bridge between her house and the
road. ``Everything is wet. Nothing in those rooms is any good anymore.''


Sudherlanda, 61, is one of dozens of residents of a poor neighborhood in
southern Belize City who lost roofs, walls, doors and entire houses to
Keith, which swirled off Belize and Mexican's Yucatan coast for three days.
It generated winds up to 135 mph and dumped 22 inches of rain before finally
dwindling to a tropical depression on Tuesday.


Between eight and 10 people, mostly in Nicaragua, were believed killed since
the storm developed. But the powerful hurricane caused the most extensive
property damage in Belize, a small Central American nation tucked between
Guatemala and Mexico.


On Caye Caulker and Ambergris Cay, popular among tourists for their pristine
beaches and crystalline waters, dozens of small wooden homes fell down, high
winds snapped wings and tails off of small planes and numerous boats sank.


Government officials announced Tuesday that emergency planes had flown food,
medicine and other essential supplies to the battered islands.


In the capital on Tuesday, where the sun emerged for the first time in four
days, electrical trucks rolled through neighborhoods reattaching snapped
powerlines while residents pounded wooden planks and sawed aluminum slabs to
repair injured roofs and walls.


``We're just trying to put a little piece of roof on here and there, because
if it rains again, everything's going to get ruined,'' said 20-year-old Mark
Hyde, who was riding around the city in the back of his cousin's pickup
truck, helping people whose homes had been damaged.


As a worried Sudherlanda looked on, two young men did their best to replace
the large swath of her roof that had been torn off, exposing her bedroom to
the sky.


Many residents who fled unsturdy homes at the height of the storm were
unable to return Tuesday to assess their losses: Heavy rains from Keith
flooded or destroyed several sections of the two major highways leading to
and from the capital.


A van carrying Corlet Warren and six relatives back to the northern coastal
city of Corozal came to a sudden halt on a section of highway about 25 miles
north of Belize City. Huge chunks of road had been eaten away by a rushing
river, leaving a center strip of pavement too narrow and unstable for
vehicles to cross.


In Ladyville, about 10 miles north of Belize City, swimming or canoeing were
the best options for those with cars too low to survive waist-deep waters
flooding the highway.


Edd Usher needed to check on the house he had evacuated in Belize City over
the weekend, but his minivan was no match for this treacherous stretch of
road. He decided instead to hitch a ride in the back of his future
brother-in-law's enormous diesel dump truck, which slowly huffed its way
past small children doing the dog paddle, an abandoned, sinking Ram truck,
and men plowing through the waves on bicycles.


``There is a saying that whatever you take from the water, the water
eventually takes back,'' Usher said philosophically as he bounced up and
down in the sand-filled truck bed.


Usher, a 34-year-old free-lance tour guide, points out that Belize City is a
former delta filled in with tons of earth. ``So every time we have a
hurricane, we have to run inland,'' he said.


But as much as he understands it, Usher says he no longer wants to put up
with it.


``I love Belize City, but this is it,'' Usher said. ``I'm tired of going
back and forth. In the next two years, I'm gone. I can't deal with this
anymore.''

Top
#7114 - 10/05/00 02:50 PM Re: Belizeans Patch Up After Keith - AP wire story
Marty Offline
Hurricane Makes 25,000 Evacuated in Belize

Story Filed: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 5:42 PM EST


MEXICO CITY (Oct. 3) XINHUA - Over 25,000 people have been moved out of
Belize's coastal areas due to hurricane Keith.


Belize's ambassador to Guatemala, Moises Cal, was quoted by reports as
saying Tuesday that up to now, there have been no reports of deaths or
injuries.


While power supply has been cut off in the country's capital of Belmopa as
well as on San Pedro and Ticaca islands, about 50 houses have been destroyed
in San Pedro.


Belize has been one of the countries most affected by hurricane Keith,
currently degraded into a tropical storm.


Thousands of people have crossed the border into Guatemala to seek refuge.

Copyright XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

HUMANITARIAN AID MOBILIZED FOR VICTIMS OF HURRICANE KEITH
Story Filed: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 4:12 PM EST


Geneva, Oct 03, 2000 (EFE via COMTEX) -- Disaster relief workers in Central
and North America have been mobilized to help the victims of Hurricane
Keith, which continues to affect the northwestern Caribbean, International
Red Cross spokespersons told EFE Tuesday.


The director of the Red Cross's Department for the Americas, Santiago Gil,
noted that the situation "is confusing, since highways and means of
communications have been obstructed by damage caused by wind and rain, which
makes an accurate assessment of the situation difficult."


"The Red Cross offices in Belize, in fact, are completely flooded and
coordination efforts are being carried by the representative from his home,"
Gil said.


The most important activities that both the Red Cross and its local offices
as well as several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are carrying out in
the disaster zone are the evacuation of people from flooded areas, the
transfer of victims to temporary shelters and the distribution of food and
drinking water.


Hurricane Keith formed last Friday and Saturday with heavy rains and winds,
which quickly reached 215 kilometers (134 miles) per hour.


Within the last 48 hours, Keith has shown itself to be relatively violent
and stationary, with its center hovering off the northern coast of Belize,
but also affecting the Yucatan Peninsula as well as Honduras, Guatemala and
Nicaragua, areas where landslides and flooding are predicted and may cause
pose a danger to human life.


One of the areas most affected has been Belize's capital, Belmopan, whose
50,000 people were evacuated, as was the case in other coastal cities in the
country.


In addition to flooding, septic systems were saturated, which has led to the
contamination of running water.


The ocean, which has risen 2 meters (6.5 feet), has also become a threat,
especially in the tourist area of the Ambergis and San Pedro Keys near the
Mexican border.


Belize City, Belmopan and the northern part of the country are without
electricity, several areas are without telephone service and the roads are
out in some places.


According to the Red Cross, in Nicaragua, 336 families have been affected by
the hurricane, three people have already died as a consequence of the strong
rains, and several have disappeared, while another 4,000 have been evacuated
to temporary shelter.


They also report that 300 families in the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica have
been affected by Keith, and 352 people have been moved to shelters.


In El Salvador, 280 families were removed from their homes because of the
high risk of complete inundation due to heavy rains.


In addition, the Mexican Red Cross has offered victims shelter and
assistance in evacuation and rescue.


Gil explained that the Red Cross gave the affected countries 71,000 dollars
in a first round of assistance, as well as providing basic disaster needs,
such as sheets, non-perishable foods, water and sanitary products, in
addition to medical supplies, blankets, kitchen utensils and litters.

Top

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