The Deputy Prime Minister is asking that Tourists follow through with their plans to visit the country.
It would be a good idea for hotels, airlines, and tour companies to contact their guests and inform them that the damages are and that they should follow through with their travel plans.
In the interest of safety we packed up and evacuated by the end of last Tuesday - so no telephones, faxes or emails were being answered. Some of the guys stayed around for security intending to move to higher ground if the hurricane approached, fortunately, they never had to. Other than abnormally high tides which had Pelican Beach looking like an island for a few days, all is well.
South Water Caye also had minimal building damage - the steps of the Heron's Hideaway washed away. There has also been some re-distribution of beach on the island. Therese and a crew are on their way out today to clean up. Junior already has his staff back out there with radio communication and the solar running again. The freezer is cold enough for beer!
The construction of the new Smithsonian Institution lab at Carrie Bow fared well. No equipment or materials were lost and the construction crew will be back out on the job on Tuesday, hopefully with only a week delay in the buildings completion.
The highways are all passable with access to Cockscomb and all major attractions.
Reports from other parts of Belize are primarily about lost docks on the islands but all hotels are back up and running, so there is no need to cancel or postpone any of your travel plans.
Again, thank you for checking on us. Please say a prayer and give what you
can to the poor people of Honduras and Nicaragua and who bore the brunt of
Hurricane Mitch and have suffered terrible loss of life, property and crop
It seems that everyone is in acordance with the sending of relief to
Phones, eletricity and water all okay.
First post Mitch guests checked in yesterday.
From there we took a bus to
Can Cun and we were able to fly home four days after leaving San Pedro.
I'm very concerned about several people we met while we were there. If
you have any information regarding "Paul" (owner of TMM Charter) and his
family, Tar Baby & family, Ralston, Israel, Halfinch, or anyone who was
on one of the boats in our group please let me know. We are
especially grateful to "Henry" who drove us to safety from the river.
God Bless all,
Frances, Dick & Ben Tyner
None of the buildings got knocked down though. Damage, but not knocked down.
Big worry right now is how to find plane tickets for 10 grandchildren and a neighbors kid and two adults to go back down to Belize. Diane had her return tickets taken over in Houston by the American Airlines clerk. Not sure if it was an error, or what? Trying to fix it today. Wendy came up on the Embassy flight with 4 kids. So, finding the money for all those is a burden. However, they are alive and if that monster of a tornado Hurricane had hit shore, definitely Belize City, Ladyville and the airport area, everybody would be dead. Villagers are all banded together right now in groups and trying to clear the debris from the streets. Front Street is the major problem, so people can pass. Beach Street which the tourists like to walk along on the edge of the water, is now well way out under the sea. Getting that back is a job for the Public Works Dept. of the Belize District.
Considerable amounts of BDF and police are at the Caye, to patrol and stop looting of vacant houses. Despite that, six breakins reported last night. The gossip from villagers is, that they suspect the same BDF personell. The villagers do not feel comfortable at the best of times, with so many mainlanders around the community. They not having any investment in the place and economy. Looting however, despite the massive presence of military is still going on.
Curfew is in effect. That is the latest from this morning. Hoping to get everybody out by Wednesday, if we can patch together the money for tickets and get space. Wendy's home, the trailer is completely over water, though still on posts with the sea lapping at the bottom. The sea I hope is abnormally high, because otherwise, the sea is now around 90 feet from last high water mark into the beach lots.
Every village, town and segment of a suburban and urban community needs to be equipped with at least one connection point of each type, and there should be links to the outside world set up in advance, with a network of correspondents both inside and outside Belize who will go to work to staff this network in time of need. Maybe the recent hurricane will be the impetus needed (as all the economic and social arguments against the telecommuniations monopoly system seem to have fallen on deaf ears) to make the GOB realize that it has to choose between protecting the monopoly and controlling access to telecommunications in the name of profit to a few and what could be the literal survival of the country. Once the plan is put together, I am sure that there are many of us outside of Belize who will be happy to fund raise and donate to make sure that the necessary equipment is available to the poorest rural communities. Maybe Patty Arceo would be willing to be the government's chair of such a committee? As an example of what happens when information is delayed: We have just learned that nearly 2,000 people were killed by a giant mudslide in Nicaragua. It took over a day for the severity of this catastrophe to become known. Time is literally the difference between life and death in a major natural disaster and having nationwide communications that will function in a crisis can make a big difference.
A few hours time to prepare for an unrushing hurricane can make a difference.
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law
Thanks to all for your prayers and concern.
Felipe Paz Jr.
Today, Sunday, I got up and watched a beautiful sunrise. The seas are back
down although the tide is still high. No waves lapping away my beach. Seas
are a bit choppy but not bad. I was able to walk to the restaurant without
getting slammed by a wave. Percy came by about 7am & said he could do a
river trip for Pete & Beth and I dang near mutulated myself tripping down
the steps & rushing over to their cabana with a pot of coffee & the good
news. Beth is a feature editor for the Beaumont Enterprise & Pete is their
photographer. They came for a nice quiet vacation but found Mitch. They
insisted on hanging in here with us through the whole thing. They were due
to leave yesterday but we offered to extended their stay in hope for a day
like today. Looks like they may consider heading back to States on Wed..
They cam back from the river trip & said "the jungle was alive". Monkeys,
birds, iguanas, crocodiles,etc.. All are celebrating the beautiful day.
Now, have you ever seen the root system of an almond tree or palm tree.
Absolutely amazing. The little bit of stump that was just at the surface of
the sand is now totally exposed - all 5' of it. Although it is interesting
to see I would have prefered to have seen a picture, not live in my front
beach! The palmento & concrete blocks saved my slab holding my steps to the
house but they do have a bit of a lean. (A bit of rum & I'll never notice)
The house vat is still standing (& leaning) and if we don't get anymore
severe waves it should be o.k.. Bob's`Paradise is in good shape and Bob
still has a few beers so he's doing fine as well. Pete & Beth have gone out
to catch dinner so now's a good time for me to have a little siesta. More
Muchas gracias to the brave gringos and San
Pedranos who stayed to watch over La Isla Bonita! -suffering Belikin
The Seven Seas and all surrounding area got as much as 3 feet of water and minor flooding damages only.
The cleaning up has begun and it is comforting to see everyone working together once again.
Annie and I took a long 3 hours stroll yesterday to access damages.
Blue Hole Diving: Blue Hole Dive Center will be fully operational within 1 week, but we would like to do a check on the dive sites at Lighthouse Reef especially as that area was 55 miles closer to the storm than we were and must have taken some big waves. It will take a few more days for unusual currents to die down and viz. to get back to it's best. The Blue Hole itself should be Ok to dive within 1 week....no doubt it's like pea soup right now, and will take a few more days to settle down.
And, yes Frank, we are about 14 hours away from each other and thanks for the "gift". You shouldn't have sent so much :-)
High and dry but stranded above the Belize River Lake,
According to Jerry pacheco, woner of the Blue Wave water Taxi, cleanup
has started on the North end and they are making good progress.
We plan on getting all the way to town tomorrow to see what's going on
there. From what we've heard gas is the problem right now. Food and water
and ice still available.
Unconfirmed report that P.G. sent a boat of rice to Honduras. If that's the case we don't need relief for Belize. San Pedro has received considerable contributions already.
Kat (Tuki Tuki) and her friend brought about 20 boxes of medical supplies, shovels, buckets and in all 31 pieces of luggage. The gentleman that owns Cayo Espanto (a small island behind Ambergris Caye) brought enough relief to fill a Cessna Caravan. Overall it sounds like we already have enough supplies.
Food does not seem to be a problem as I was invited to eat with friends and we had leftovers.
I am told that the beach has been cleaned up already and that it was at least twice as worst.
Everyone so far says SEND THE RELIEF TO HONDURAS.
A Lion member suggested I route it through the Lions Club and I agree
that's the best way. Tomorrow I'll get the names of contacts at the Lions
Club in Honduras and see if they can help us move the relief through them.
We'll see you in February if you're reading this Melanie and all!
Love you lots, SE & VLK
Thanks for the prays from all of you. We are thankful Mitch did not
come to Belize.
God Bless. Julia Edwards
Efforts to clean up the mess on the beach are well under way, and we should see the job completed well before the end of this week. I did see a couple of postings over the past few days which suggested the beaches had gone....the good news is that now that the sea has gone down to more or less its normal level, the beaches look to be in pretty good shape overall. Where there is erosion in spots, other areas have built up more.
One dive shop survived!!!! Rigi Gomez's little "See Dolphins" dive shop (plywood construction!) is still there in its original spot at the Playador. Having said that, all those dive shops which didn't make it will still be able to operate as most if not all of them preserved their equipment and boats.
And now for some really big news: three days ago I was on the 3rd floor of the Spindrift hotel with family members watching HUGE waves, at least 25-30ft, breaking on the reef. (That reef saved us again, we'd better take good care of it). Would you believe the Yellow marker bouy survived, IT'S STILL THERE! It must have been buried under 15 feet of fast moving waves at times and it didn't budge.
Looks like a lot of the dive site bouys didn't fare so well, quite a few of them have washed ashore. It won't be long before boats go out to check dive and snorkel sites to see what, if any, damage has been sustained.
Sea walls vs. natural beach...this has been a hot topic on the island for a few years now. For a storm such as this where the sole damage was from waves, (the wind never got over 25mph on Ambergris Caye) it didn't matter if you did or didn't have a sea wall close to the waters edge, the damage was the same. I did see that sea walls that were constructed well away from the waters edge did a very good job of protecting the property within, most notably at the Belize Yacht Club and Royal Palm Villas. Each of these resorts also have sea walls on the waters edge and these didn't fare so well. Natural beach did OK overall provided buildings were not too close to the water.
I can't think of a single hotel that won't be ready for guests in a week or less. Tim Jeffer's "Coconuts" Hotel is full already..with our friends of the Belize Defence Force. Well done Tim for volunteering your lovely hotel for these hard working guys, but please, only charge them low season rates!!
Tropic and Maya Island Air now flying normal schedules to and from Ambergris Caye.
Belize Defence Force here on the island tonight, probably to help enforce a curfew to guard against looting....most folk are back now but there are still some empty properties.
Speaking of looting... here's a fun game for the whole family to play: As those of you who have followed the storm on the Web probably know, there have been some arrests made of looters. The law-abiding citizens of San Pedro that I have spoken to agree that these looters are nothing but scum sucking vermin. Now, Belize is a civilized democracy with a justice system which is modeled on the British style, which means that these thieves will not be punished the way we'd like them to be. But! it would be fun to find out what YOU, the reader, would like to see happen to them. So, a big electronic Internet pat on the back for the web surfer who comes up with the most imaginative penalty for the Looters of Ambergris Caye. No holds barred, but, please, no foul language. Just post your ideas here!
To end this posting on a more sobering note: The center of Hurricane
Mitch got as close as 170
miles to Ambergris Caye, and as close as 130 miles to ANYWHERE on
mainland Belize. This
means that it has STILL been 20 years since the last hurricane (Greta)
struck Belize and 37
years since the last mega-hurricane (Hattie) whumped us.
We REALLY have been lucky.
Well today 31 October as we all know is Halloween and this is exactly what Hurricane Mitch has been playing with us from the 26th October. If this Hurricane which was a category 5 or catastrophic hurricane had hit Belize city we would still be in Belmopan wondering if our homes were still standing as the winds of this devastating hurricane were up to 180 mph, which means we would have no Belize City left. Fortunately God saw it fit to turn this monster away from us. Unfortunately the coast of Nicaragua and mainly Honduras including the Bay Islands of Roatan, Guanaja, Cortez and other coastline cities have been badly damaged and thousands of people are homeless and appealing for food and clothes. About 50 thousand people were in Belmopan and the rest were in Cayo and Benque and others in the northern towns. As of today we have found out that the Islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker were the ones hit the worse as most of the piers were washed away and a lot of the beach was eroded. At the moment Belize City has only some high tide and cloudy with some showers. Also the southern districts and towns have been hit with torrential rains and floods. In Belize the banana industry will be greatly affected.
Yesterday we headed back from Belmopan to Belize City to start
unpacking and putting things back together. There will be no
newspaper this week so this is all the news you will be getting. As
more information keeps coming out I will be letting you know.
This exercise has cost the Government of Belize, who is broke,
millions of dollars and also the private enterprise. Everyone in the
country are congratulating the Government in the manner they handled
the situation as the shelters were properly attended to and there
were no major incidents, just minor ones that were taken care
of. Everybody at the shelters were fed and taken care of. Except
for Belize city which was completely empty and there were some
incidents of looting the victims being mainly Chinese shops. On
Wednesday night police arrested some 80 looters and by the following
day a special court was held and they were prosecuted. The Police
and the BDF were out in force to protect the citizens of Belize City.
Today the restaurants are not open to sell food as chicken and
vegetables are scarce. But everyone has canned food, so I guess for
somedays we will be eating tuna, sausage, biscuits, etc. But all in
all we are happy because God spared our citizens and our lives. I
urge everyone to go to church and thank God for sparing Belize City.
PS: As of now 120 something people have died in Honduras and we
believe the numbers will increase. Also 1000 homes in the island of
Guanaja were destroyed. The whole island was washed away.
It is now that people are realizing that when George Price built the
new capital of Belmopan after 1961 hurricane it was a wise idea and
that the man had vision. Even those that criticised it were seen
going with their suitcase heading up to Belmopan for shelter.
RE: Lighthouse area
Turneffe certainly saved Belize City from damage as it's right in the way of the waves that would have swamped the city.
Don't know about its condition or Lighthouse Reef.
On the way back from Belmopan roads were flooded and lots of rain.( This was yesterday)
My Dad,Orlando Carrasco, one of his boats was split in 2. Water was 1 foot deep all the way up to his yard, which is on the fron t street. He lives by the old cemetery next to Tropical Paradise.
Over 1000 Belizeans fled to Melchor in Guatemala on Tuesday last. The
border remained open during the emergency. All hotels filled up, and
the authorities opened schools and Gov buildings as refugee centres.
I note that the Mexican border was closed to Belizeans during the
' By their deeds you shall know them'.
WASA likewise is doing all they can to restore water. So many lines broken with the piers being battered and destroyed. We really shouldn't have a water crisis if the folks with cisterns will share. Most of us have overflowing cisterns. Our downspouts have been disconnected for a week. Can't even venture a guess at the amount of rain - our rain gauge, no matter how often we empty it is always full. San Pedro's police force has been and continues to the "the greatest". The officers have worked non stop in any manner needed. The same with the hurricane committee and town board. I sure have a lot of respect and appreciation to the cadre of young policemen who are serving the island. Most of them are younger than my children, and they surely must have been as scared as the rest of us but their professionalism is to be commended.
The great sound of planes arriving is filling the air. Tropic and Maya have
been flying non stop. We know it will be trying here for a few days, but
folks coming back have to be tremendously relieved. It's a mess here, but
most homes ok. It's good to see our neighbors returning and the plywood
coming off the windows. More later. Thanks for everything - you have been
our umbilical cord. Know you're swamped, but if you know anything about Don
and Eli Pearly who were managing the Bayman Club on Guanaja - let us know.
The last we heard was Wednesday. Eli called Iguana Jack and said they were
unable to leave the island and were battening down with 10 guests.
Bruce and Victoria
Don and Eli Pearly rode the storm out in the shelter underneath their house in Honduras. They were able to make contact with Eli's sister in the states via a cell phone I believe Weds. The resort is destroyed apparently there is nothing remaining. I am not sure about their house. They had enough food in the shelter for a week. I will know more probably this evening.
Well, here is the short version of the story: We evacuated 15 guests, 10 staff, Logan and I Tuesday morning around 5am. Mitch was 180 mph with wind gusting up to 205 mph moving in a straight westerly direction right for us. We all got out safely to Houston. Logan and I returned to Belize on Friday and had to spend the night in Belize City. We returned to the island today. And, it's not too bad!!
There is no structural damage to the lodge or any outlying buildings. All water, sewage, electric, computer and telephone systems (except x2398 is out for some reason so call on x2975 for a couple of days please) are running with no problems. There appears to be no water damage on the first floor. All windows, walls, roofs, etc. are intact. The majority of the pier and casting platforms are standing. The boats are fine. That is all of the good news.
The bad news is purely cosmetic. We lost some coconut trees. The sand has
reformed the beach making the ocean side of the pool level with the beach
(as opposed to 2 feet higher)!? We also have a lot of wood and debris in
the front yard. We should be cleaned up in a couple days.
No reservations need to be canceled or rescheduled. We will be open and
ready for business when Mark and Jerry bring their groups next week.
Please call or email with any questions or comments. I will answer your
specific emails as I get to them. Please be patient for a couple of days.
Thanks again for your concern. It helped because we are all fine. We at
El Pescador were luckier than some others. Some friends made some comments
about coming down to help during the next couple of days. If you were
serious the island could use it; if not EP directly other hotels and homes
in San Pedro.
Thank you again!!
Ali, Logan and the staff of El Pescador
PO Box 17
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Belize, Central America
Skip (Turtle Inn) was only back because he came by boat from Mango Creek. I have not heard of any injuries or deaths resultant from the storm. The storm never really hit here at all except for heavy rain. There were reports of food in short supply in Belmopan the second day of evacuation but everyone there has returned home so it is not a problem. Here we have plenty of food in the shops because most of the people have not been able to get through to eat it. Electricity and water are running everywhere.
People have been up and down the Penninsula and I have heard no reports of any storm damage anywhere except for some docks lost at the cayes. Olga's grocery is open in Placencia. I am not sure of others. No answer at the gas station.
I think this news will change today. It has not rained since yesterday afternoon and the strong wind has dried things out some. I have seen a couple of new vehicles already today and I am guessing that many people are going to try to return home today . There is still more than a foot of water on the road at Riversdale and it gets deeper at high tide. This is not enough to stop most people around here. Seine Bight is like a ghost town on Halloween because no buses have gotten through yet. About twenty people walked and hitched in yesterday from Georgetown.
I don't think Ray and Colleen from the Green Parrot are back yet but they may have come in yesterday. Their phone doesn't ring at all. It is a radio phone but usually works fine.
I just talked to Frank at Roberts Groove and he is fine. No damage there.
Kerry Goss, Blue Crab Resort
I can make arrangements with the Mennonites for Cabbage Bark and/or Bullet tree planking. Need to know exact sizes. Such a 2" * 6" * 12 ft -- rough. 2" * 6" * 6ft plained.
How many 6" wide planks per 12 ft section??
We can also supply Salt water pimento posts and other such.
Peter Singfield firstname.lastname@example.org 04-35213
The storm surge is still high and waves still pounding. They have lost about half the lot or more under the sea. Anywhere from six feet to 25 feet of land. The beach street that is 24 ft wide of course had been gone since Hurricane Fifi and was about 6 inches underwater. This street was the protecting barrier for beach front lots and gave room for people to pass, tourists and locals along the front. But since Hurricane Fifi, homeowners between Front Street and the invisible Beach Street have partially filled up five or six feet of the beach street, to stop people walking through their yards. This now has gone again, plus more than half the homeowners lots. It will all have to be refilled again, to keep the tourist industry vibrant. How to do this is a problem. Wendy was worried that she and her kids would have no place to stay. But the trailer is still up on posts and the sea and waves are lapping the bottom. I expect the inside will be soaking wet and everything ruined. Tina's home is a two story, her bottom story where she lives is full of water and the sea is right there. It was about 80 feet from the water line before. Now the water line is through the bottom apartment. The sea is still high, and hopefully it will recede a bit. But the new high water mark is going to be at the front door. Or in Wendy's case, she is going to not be over land anymore, but over water and step out in the sea to get ashore. There is now no exit from her house to public streets, without wading around other lots nearby, as the beach street and the bit that we had maintained and filled up is gone. The park is on one side, the John Marin Jr between her and Front Street and Sandbox to the south. The sea all around and no beach street pathway in front anymore for access.
The rural representative for the PUP has got some strong lobbying to do for government to get a dredge out there and some equipment to clean up for the Town Council on Caye Caulker. Presumably the Prime Minister will start the ball rolling, then assign some grant writers to get a couple of million to cover fixing up Caye Caulker as a prime tourist dollar earning foreign exchange place once again. The Tourist season starts with a bang in six weeks. No time for delays. Haste is imperative. Start now and seek money for GRANTS and Hurricane relief later. It would be economic madness to lose the tourist season, with the heaviest six week earning period of the whole year to come between December 18th and end of January 31st.
Most of the foreign exchange earned by the tourist industry is earned in just six short weeks. True there is tourism income for 8 months a year, but those six weeks produce more than the rest of the year put together. Those six weeks are in themselves, only six weeks away. They start mid December to end of January. Of this, about 80% of this tourist money foreign exchange, finds itself passing through San Pedro and Caye Caulker into the banking system. These are just rough figures, you can argue the exact amounts later. The trickle down effect, also effects the whole rest of the country, in all districts. Even the service industry and merchants of the district towns and media outlets.
That said, it would be reasonable to assume that the nation and the GOB have an interest in seeing that both Caye Caulker and San Pedro are beautiful by mid December just a few weeks away. What will happen is that in the first two weeks of the six week high season, the visitors between mid December and 1st. of January will by word of mouth, to friends, relatives and other people, by telephone, letter and gossip influence the following visitor statistics for the last four weeks of the short six week high season. This word of mouth advertising, will in turn effect the visitors for the other eight months.
I argue that what happens in those first two weeks, the impressions people get, the enjoyment they find, will have a direct economic effect on our balance of payments, our national debt load, the ability to function as a government and a country for the whole year of 1999. We are partners in the tourist industry. All the little mom and pop tourist resorts and the government and the nation's economic health as a whole.
This said, whatever the Town Council chairman requires right now, for beach cleanup, he should get. Clam shell crane, one or two dump trucks, a bulldozer. Whatever he wants, he should get it, not in months to come, but by next Wednesday. We have our nation's economic backbone to the wall for 1999. Red tape, bureaucratic lethargy, department permits, environmental studies, all that stuff has to go into high gear. The resources of the nation as a whole should at this time, be put into focusing on the economic income for the treasury and the economy for 1999. If there are any dredges around the country, they should be pulled and sent on their way this week Monday and arrive and set up operation by Wednesday, in front of Caye Caulker.
The beach and beach street has to be filled before December 15th, otherwise the community will not have the ambience that tourists find so appealing. True the town of Caye Caulker will eventually get it all cleaned up, but many property owners are not going to be able to afford anything, as right now they are in the short cash off season. When money is non-existant, cash flow is zero and overheads are still running on credit and overdrafts at the banks.
The tourist industry is a partnership and the nation gets considerable foreign exchange from it in which to function. In this emergency, the focus should be on piling in the resources we have, dredges, clam shell crane, dump trucks, whatever is needed. Time is of the essence. We have about 45 days to accomplish restoring the ambience, both at Caye Caulker and San Pedro. Then the tourist visitor will get to do the rest, by our standard word of mouth advertising. The success of the economy of the whole nation rests on a successful tourist season.
I do not mean to belittle other places in this economic argument, it is just that resources are always piled into the port when they yelp and cry a little. It is time that those who manage the economy, realize where the foreign exchange dollars come from, without which the government cannot function.
The sea is extremely rough and very high. Brian Cullerton has the sea literally knocking at his front door. Ray's daughter Diane has the sea at her front gate. I've never seen the sea like this. In some areas, debris has washed up on the streets about 100 feet inland. The river is overflowing as well as the canal. Many homes are surrounded by the canal water. I feel for the people living in that area. Very nasty conditions.
Dangriga was practically a ghost town on Tuesday and Wednesday and I had expected to find a lot of looting had taken place. I'm not sure what we can attribute it to, but the amount looting was minimal.
Ted Aranda's bakery was making bread on Friday - a very welcome relief. Henry Canton was out and about during the days rounding up supplies to take to the shelters.
As far as I know, telephone service was uninterrupted, and there were only a
couple of brief blackouts as a consequence of the storm. It will still be a
while before things get back to normal here, but at least it's good to be
Cathy R. Zabaneh
I think the Rainbow Hotel was Lester's concrete built motel type structure that was two story and long, facing the sea. He was at sea level to start with, in a low area of land. That it broke in half would seem to indicate the water dug out the supporting sand. I hope he had it paid off by now.
Unlike Honduras, where the islands go up to 400 ft or so in height, all the islands along the Great Barrier Reef of Belize, with the exception of Ambergris Caye are sand bars and can change shape with wind and currents. They usually maintain shape when the mangrove fringe exists, but where there are people and the desire to get ocean breezes, they cut down the mangroves and the sand bar islands tend to get washed away and rebuilt again, after many storms. Ranguana Caye I have seen as big as eight acres and as small as 2 acres. Caye Caulker is a sand bar island and is not more than 200 to 300 yards wide, though about 4 miles long. The natural coral channels in the fronting Barrier reef and subsequent six hour tidal changes around the island and inland sea create the island.
Any storm and tidal surge and change of current flow can damage Caye Caulker. The front beach area erodes about six feet a year. This is a gradual drift over the centuries backward and westward from when they formed up on the reef proper, long ago. It was a mistake to cut the mangrove fringe by the village over the years. Would have been better to just trim them up 15 feet for sea breezes and make them tall trees with the protecting roots to hold the island. Trouble is, mangroves make for mucky bottom. Not pleasant walking, but when you cut them down, you get a hard pan and eventually sand, which is easier on ones feet. It makes the village vulnerable to storm and tidal damage. There used to be mangroves all along the island when I was young. It was a fight to keep them trimmed then. Mangrove fringes are easily replanted though, if the government ecology department decided this was a better way to go. An artificial sea wall and man made sand beach might be a better solution long term for places like Caye Caulker and Caye Chapel. Something to think about for the next generation.
at 9 am CST...1500z...the governments of Mexico...belize... guatemala and Honduras have discontinued the tropical storm warnings for the caribbean coasts of their countries. Small Craft should should continue to exercise caution in the coastal and offshore waters.
At 9 am CST...1500z...the center of the tropical depression was located near latitude 14.5 north...longitude 88.7 west or about 25 miles...40 km...south of Santa Rosa de Copan Honduras.
The depression is moving toward the west near 7 mph ...11 km/hr. This motion is expected to continue today with a gradual turn toward the West-Northwest tonight.
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph... 55 km/hr...with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1001 mb...29.56 inches.
Additional rainfall totals of 15 to 25 inches are possible over portions of Honduras...nicaragua and el Salvador...with lesser amounts over portions of belize...guatemala...and the Yucatan Peninsula. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides...especially in association with higher terrain.
Repeating the 9 am CST position...14.5 n... 88.7 w. Movement toward...west near 7 mph. Maximum sustained winds... 35 mph. Minimum central pressure...1001 mb.
It is expected that the minor damages will be cleaned up in just a few days and the only reminder of Mitch will be a slightly changed shoreline and the absence of piers. In as little as a week the island will be ready to offer fishing, snorkeling, diving, and just plain old relaxing San Pedro style to its' visitors.
Those with travel plans to San Pedro are informed that they should proceed with their plans as there were no significant damage to buildings and Hotels are making preparations to open as soon as Sunday. International flights into Belize and flights to the island are expected to resume a normal schedule today. Check with your travel agent or directly with the airline and hotel to see if they will be open, then pack the sunscreen and tell your friends you're on your way to San Pedro Ambergris Caye!
Only possible holdup if the weather system continues to weaken is it is possible we run out of fuel for the diesel engines that provide electricity. Food no longer a big issue as the planes can fly in as soon as the Belize City warehouses open.
FOLLOW ALL YOUR PLANS, COME TO BELIZE. Our wild life is intact and more alive than before, our forests are greener, there has been a lot of water for them. Our great mayan temples are drying up for you to climb and photograph them. Our cayes are opening their doors to receive you as the sea is abating to a tamed, tranquil, shallow, blue barrier reef ( a world heritage) filled with friendly marine life.
We thank you all for your good wishes, and prayers. We were all heard. There has been absolutely no report on loss of life ( thank you all) and very little loss in material things. We were prepared for the worst all over the country.
We thank our Government of Belize, We thank Patty Arceo for inspiring confidence in us, We thank the Weather Channel, We thank our local radio stations, and We applaud for ourselves. We prepared ourselves, and the Lord helped us. When you all visit us, you will hear interesting anecdotes from the critical moments that Mitch made us pass through. There was love, kindness, sharing and solidarity never before put to the test. There was fun in the mass exodus from the coast and cayes, in our villages, etc. Visit My Belize Tropical Paradise Page to convince yourself that it is time for you to come to Belize!!
For God, People, and Country
G.Rosado JP BS
...Mitch continues to produce torrential rains over portions of central America...
tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the caribbean coast of Honduras...guatemala...belize...and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from Cabo catoche southward...including the offshore islands. Small Craft in the warning areas should remain in port. Warnings may be lowered later today over some of the warning area.
At 3 am CST...0900z...the poorly defined center of Tropical Storm Mitch was estimated near latitude 14.2 north...longitude 87.9 west. This position is inland over Honduras about 45 miles...75 km...west of tegucigalpa.
Mitch is moving toward the West Southwest near 7 mph...11 km/hr... and and a West Southwest to westward motion is expected for the next 24 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are estimated near 40 mph... 65 km/hr... with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 200 miles...325 km... mainly to the north of the center over the waters near the north coast of Honduras.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1000 mb...29.53 inches.
Additional rainfall totals of 15 to 25 inches are possible over portions of Honduras...nicaragua and el Salvador...with lesser amounts over portions of belize...guatemala...and the Yucatan Peninsula. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides...especially in association with higher terrain.
Repeating the 3 am CST position...14.2 n... 87.9 w. Movement toward...West Southwest near 7 mph. Maximum sustained winds... 40 mph. Minimum central pressure...1000 mb.
An intermediate advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 6 am BT. followed by the next complete advisory at 9 am BT.
We also need to keep out emotions under control and not react negatively to comments posted on this board. Remember, we want to share this "Jewel" with others. Not shed a negative towards it and us.
The people have survived, most important, and San Pedro will be ready soon to see you. The San Pedrano's are an wonderfully strong people who will have their hotels, beaches and dive shops ready.
I am thinking all of our prayers helped....
Let's put our energy into letting the world know that Belize is here and waiting to greet you.
Me-thinks and I have a prejudiced biased viewpoint here, that this time around, the damage from Hurricane Fifi to beach street be fixed, as around 8 families are currently faced with loss of homes on the sea front side of the village with homes that are either destroyed, or would in any civilized society be condemned, from Hurricane Mitch. This is not counting the business places and subsequent property damage. In this regard, Caye Caulker suffered worse property damage than San Pedro affecting homes and family lives. Monkey River also suffered considerable damage on a lesser scale.
Getting Caye Caulker homes back up, the beach front corrected and attractive again, should be a priority for tourism infra structure funds. This is a legitimate gripe, for previous perceived unfair allocation of national tax revenues on tourism infrastructure. Actually, I have faith that the PUP will do so. They always had their head screwed on straight and priorities correct. Better than the UDP. But it does not hurt to remind those mainlanders where the bread and butter money and foreign exchange comes from.
The squeaking door gets the oil! Time for the Caye Caulker Town
Council to turn political and start putting heavy pressure for fixing
the beach street in front of the whole village as a top priority tourism
infra structure expenditure by the new government.
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