In the north, residents are being forced, by rising flood waters, to flee their homes. Tonight, many have been put up in shelters, some of them on higher ground and some of them in other villages all together.
This evening we spoke via phone to NEMO district coordinator Elodio Aragon Sr. He gave us a glimpse into the devastation that's been caused up north and the lengths his team has had to go to to ensure the safety of all those affected.
Voice of: Elodio Aragon Sr., NEMO District Coordinator, Orange Walk "Here in the north we are experiencing flooding, yes, we have, actually, we have 5 areas that have created problems in the sense that they are being overflowed with water. We have Trial Farm Village, it has a lot of water, We have Douglas."
"Well Douglas is the biggest problem we have. Right now it is being overrun with the water we have taken out over 20 people, 20 families have come out from there already, we have had to house them, find where to put them in shelters. We have Santa Cruz , Santa Cruz is right next to the Rio Hondo and it has a problem because again it is being flooded. We have had to take out people to put in shelters. San Antonio is not that bad with the flooding except it's cut off from the main road they can't cross. The water on the road is about 5 feet right now, and therefore the villagers cannot come out, we have to put boats there. This morning at 5 we started putting boats to ferry out the people, we have done that in San Antonio and we have done that in San Roman."
"Well tremendous, tremendous losses, tremendous losses, some of them lose all their crops that they have, their houses are damaged, their sceptics for example in Douglas not a sceptic would be good it would be over flooded. That is why the moment it begins to be over flooded the entire village we have to take out everybody because it floods. It gets into their sceptic thanks and you know it's unhealthy for them. Douglas is the main village that suffers a tremendous loss. Others would lose their crops their, you know, cane fields and things like that. So no it's a tremendous loss here fortunately it's not a loss for the entire district of Orange Walk it's only like I would say just 5 or six villages the rest can manage."
At this hour water levels in the villages mentioned continue to rise; many who have escaped were only able to do so by dorey's or other small boats. Footage for this story was courtesy of CTV3.
Since last week, floods have been recorded in several villages in the north. Today, flood waters are still high in several communities, including Douglas and San Roman. The communities have been mobilizing to get people to higher ground since these villages are along the rising Rio Hondo River. So far, almost seventy-five families from various communities have had to evacuate their homes. Today, we spoke with President of the National Village Council Association, Javier Sabido, who has been assisting with mobilization on the ground. Here’s more on what’s happening in the north.
On the Phone: Javier Sabido, President, NAVCO
“By that time it was already about two inches in approximately about six hours and it was affecting a lot of families especially those that live near the river bank. The families have been evacuated and they have been evacuated to San Juan Village RC School and also to San Pablo Government School. Last night I went to visit there because a family called us that they needed assistance to evacuate and when we went there we saw that they already had water in their back yards. Approximately fifty families have evacuated the village, in total. And I understand that we have eleven families in San Juan RC School; sixteen families in San Pablo Government School and I understand that today the San Jose Government School is being open to accommodate other families. We have other families who went to stay with other families in other villages and others have rented houses in San Pablo, San Jose, and San Juan. We had a meeting with NEMO and the chairpersons and the authorities and this was one of the factors brought up and we will make sure that all these protocols of proper hygiene are being implemented, especially socially distancing and wearing of the masks. So, when we are opening shelters we are very careful to see how many members of a family would be there and inviting them to practice social distancing, wearing the masks and washing of hands. During my visit in San Roman, the situation was quiet different. My councilors and I went there travelling in our vehicle and we were not able to cross the road to San Roman. We encountered about a mile and a half is under water, which is close to the riverbank. So, all that water came out and affected all that area before reaching San Roman village. So, we had to hire an army truck so that we can get access to the village so that I could talk to the vice chairman there. Presently, during the weekend, there were no families affected by flooding yet but if the water continues to rise, I understand those people living by the riverbank will be evacuated shortly. There is no access for small vehicles.”
Douglas Village Chairman Jair Osorio is pleading to government for some assistance. In a Facebook post, he noted that people in shelters for the past four days are now out of food supplies, water and other essential goods. He says that they also need fuel to evacuate more people. If you can assist, you can reach Osorio at 672-0669.