From Ron at the San Pedro Sun...

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Ron spent most of the day putting up his hurricane shutters.

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Over eight thousand people were evacuated from our island today, including Tamara.

Here are the "refugees" waiting to get a plane out.

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And of course Ron will be keeping a short leash on the critters, Leo and Scout.

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Here is Jem's room, all boarded up.

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these last two are of San Pedro Sun reporter Kainie Manuel interviewing Deputy Prime Minister Godfrey Smith and Jim Janmohammed, SP Emergency Coordinator.

The story will follow below the pics

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San Pedro Braces for Emily

Hurricane Emily is tracking north, northwest with a projected path that has it making landfall just above the northern part of the country in the Yucatan Peninsula. But while hurricane forecasters have their predictions, we are hoping that indeed we are spared another hurricane. But while most of us hope, the hurricane seasoned island of San Pedro did not only hope, today they were in full preparation mode in case the island is hit. Kainie Manuel from the San Pedro Sun reports.

Kainie Manuel Reporting, [for the San Pedro Sun]
When Hurricane Emily approaching, Belize prepares for the first potential hurricane of the year. On San Pedro residents and businesses are already boarding up windows, not waiting for any warnings and starting early with their preparations.

San Pedro Resident #1,
"Well it's a very scary storm and that's why I'm boarded up early. I have not previously boarded up for Keith and wasn't in these quarters at that time, I was across the street on the main floor building with big windows and I was concerned that I had not boarded up because of all of these signs that are on the street sticking out on poles. I was concerned the wind would pick up one or more of those signs and toss them around and it might come through my windows."

The National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO, along with the San Pedro Emergency Committee, SPEC, is already taking precautions along with the rest of the country.

SPEC Coordinator,
"Once again we've been given a wakeup call. We're in the hurricane season and we have to remember that this is a very very busy season; its being told by the pundits and the experts say so. So I think San Pedro residents must start to take stock of their plans, what they are going to do, where everything is located, how they are going to get there, and they must also be thinking very seriously about evacuating to the mainland because if your home cannot take it we do not have the shelter system to take care of you. So its very important that you start figuring where you're going to be going to and where you're going to evacuate to. The government will provide shelters on the mainland and that will happen during the official evacuation of the island where they'll be buses to meet them at Belize City and take them to various shelters."

Godfrey Smith, Minister in charge of NEMO, visited San Pedro Town to get informed on what are the hurricane preparedness steps being taken by NEMO and SPEC and to render assistance.

Godfrey Smith, Minister of NEMO
"The objective is basically to meet with the emergency management organization here. We brought a team involving officials from NEMO, the Belize Defense Force, the Coast Guard, basically touch bases, to run through the fundamental plan to make sure everybody is alert and on top of the situation. I must say that the San Pedro Emergency Management Organization is always a very proactive one, they never wait for last minute and they took us through their paces and it seems that they are very well organized and aware of all the necessary steps they need to take in the event that the situation worsens."

As Hurricane Emily approaches, all eyes remain on the Caribbean Sea and the skies proving once more that 2005 will be a very active hurricane season. From San Pedro for the San Pedro Sun and Channel 7 News, I am Kainie Manuel.

On advice of the Chief Meteorologist and NEMO, the Prime Minister has declared the preliminary phase of Belize's hurricane plan taking effect as of six this evening. This allows for residents in offshore islands and coastal areas of Belize forty eight hours to prepare for hurricane conditions if it becomes necessary.