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#7707 - 10/05/00 08:03 PM Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
Marty Offline
The British and American military are going to arrive in time to go do
some great scuba diving and serious Rum drinking. R & R for those boys
when they arrive.

San Pedro town on Ambergris Caye has partial electricity restored and
partial telephone service. Long lines of 50 deep at BTL office for
cellular contact.

Caye Caulker is going to be quite a bit longer, but maybe faster than
anybody thinks.
There are Canadian Electrician Linesmen teams in country, accustomed to
setting up poles and rigging wires in emergency blizzard conditions in
the Canadian Provinces of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia and
Newfoundland. Tough birds all of them. Hope they brought sunscreen!
Those white folks going to be in trouble if they didn't. Average high
summer temperature in Newfoundland in mid-summer is only 50 degrees
farenheight. If it got that low in Belize, we would freeze to death.
Hope they also brought bathing suits, the diving at the reef is fine, the
water has settled already. FREE reef trips at Caye Caulker need to be
organized for them.
With such a massive input of trained specialist labor, carting off old
Canadian Pine electric poles and sticking in new ones ( I presume BEL has
an inventory of poles someplace) and rigging wires should take a week on
Caye Caulker or quicker. How soon they will get to it though, I don't
know. They are doing San Pedro first as electricity comes not from a
local generator, but from an underwater submerged cable from the
mainland. It's just the poles and wiring to be strung and done. By the
weekend, the partial restoration will be fully done on San Pedro is my bet.
BTL and telecommunications is another story. Lousy story to tell the

Maybe when they have the post mortem on Hurricane preparedness and
finding fault, they will find some hindsight quarterbacking criticisms of
Government intervention and aid. But from my seat on the outside and
running an Hurricane Emergency Network, the Government of Belize and yes
let's say it. The PUP, has come through with flying colors! Far better
than anything I could wish for. I'm probably one of their greatest
critics, second to Peter Singfield. But by golly, this time around, I
take my hat off to them. They have done it! This whole disaster relief
thing is cresting and should be coasting along by the end of the
weekend. By Monday, life will still be rough for many and particularly
on Caye Caulker, but it will return to normal, or as normal as one can
get in this situation.

The first 72 hours are critical in a disaster. I'm an old guy, been
around a few wars, earthquakes and hurricanes. What is needed by relief
agencies is rapid response teams into the effected areas. My own concern
was rapid response of some sort from the GOB, the maximum that could be
done.! It is the shell shocked nature of the victims. They tend to
dither and go from one thing to another and have trouble prioritizing
things, because they become overwhelmed. Give them 72 hours with on the
spot outside intervention by relief teams and overwhelming government
aid, the shock wears off and they start to pick up their lives and get
organized. One can see this on Caye Caulker which is much more hurt than
San Pedro in this way. Yeah! I was needling them during the hurricane
about getting out to the islands fast. Urging them to use the BDF and
all that. Making lists. Probably annoying the heck out of the Cabinet
and NEMO. But by golly they did respond, they did prioritize and most of
all they ACTED in a very prompt manner. The 72 hour critical period is
passing, life of some sort of new normalcy is getting organized. Indeed,
the British and the Americans are going to find 80 % of the disaster work
already done. This time, they came too late. Belizeans did it for
themselves and they did it well! In the International Arena we can step
to the front as proud people. Not like those in Honduras or Turkey or
some other place.
You can get cold beer on San Pedro now, that says it all! Perhaps soon
on Caye Caulker? The people on Caye Caulker really pulled together. I
don't know where the shortage complaint came from in the report of some
foreign resident fleeing from her collapsed house about starving, but
restaurants on the Caye have been preparing and giving away free food.
Many people have been giving well water and VAT rain water. The clinic
and GOB and Village Council have a food ration distribution center
working at the Community Center. Yup! It is going well, really well!
A little ice cream and some cold beer, a few apple pies from the incoming
rescue British and American forces would top it all off for everybody.

from Ray Auxillou, Belize
Development Trust

#7708 - 10/05/00 08:29 PM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
John in Vancouver, Canada Offline
Glad to hear of the good news and optimism!!! And your comments about the Canadians brought tears of laughter to my eyes. I have been there and worse! On the other hand--"Vancouverites don't die, they just rust away" :-)

#7709 - 10/05/00 08:31 PM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
Thank you! This is WONDERFUL news.
Give everyone a big thumbs up and hugs and kisses to MY GUY, JIM CRAWFORD!
Peace. June

#7710 - 10/05/00 09:19 PM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST

#7711 - 10/05/00 11:11 PM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST

#7712 - 10/06/00 01:46 AM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
jacquesv Offline
Very encouraging news! I'm thrilled and relieved to hear about it. And thank you to all who gave the extra effort to make the calls and prod Belizean agencies into action.

I applaud the Belizean government for kicking into high gear so quickly . . . but, being a USA citizen, I have to take a bit of exception to the negative comments about Americans arriving "too late".

Any nation anywhere in the world can count on the good ole USA to, not only show up, but to also be exceptionally generous with throngs of volunteers with expertise, truckloads of supplies and relief materials, and dumptrucks full of donations of essentials - money included.

Can anyone name a more internationally involved and helpful country in times of disaster than the USA? I think not! Please! Don't discourage our generosity and unending willingness to help by disparaging comments!

#7713 - 10/06/00 02:01 AM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
Thank you Jacquesv...well said !
Peace. June

#7714 - 10/06/00 02:20 AM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
pam05 Offline
Ahhhhhh yes, we Candians. I'm falling off my chair laughing. Western Canada is a little warmer but very wet. My sister is a pole climber for the phone company and I wish I could send her down. She's one tough little girl. Your words are so encouraging. What I would give to be at my home in San Pedro right now.

#7715 - 10/06/00 04:43 AM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
judy45 Offline
Dear Ray,
I have truly enjoyed, appreciated and admired all of your reports over the past few days and have printed them out to read again later. You are so "politically uncorrect", I love it!!! Ahhh, the refreshing sound of wisdom and experience. Thank you for your devoted time to write your informative reports, with such heart and spirit. I reach across the internet to shake your hand!! It's been a priveledge to share your knowledge and insights.

Please keep writing, Thank you ever so much,
An admirer from California

#7716 - 10/06/00 08:21 AM Re: Hurricane Keith Update, Thursday 7 p.m. EST
karin Offline
This is the first posting I am reading this morning and I have to say it makes me feel much better!... Keep up the good work ! Belizean people are amazing, and canadians are doing well too ! Karin in Ottawa

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