Salvation Army Provides Relief In Wake Of Hurricane Keith
Story Filed: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 4:03 PM EST


WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was released today by
the Salvation Army:


After alerts over the weekend, Hurricane Keith now sits 30 miles to the
north of Belize City. On Sunday night -- Monday morning, extensive damage
was done in the uprooting of trees and the closure of Belize City Airport,
the main air artery for Belize.


The city is under 3 feet of water, making conventional vehicles useless.
Electricity is cut to the city and many homes; the older homes in the city
have suffered the collapse of their roofs due to high winds and rain gusting
at 80mph through the low lying town center.


The Salvation Army has deployed the Central Corps as part of the emergency
planning strategy, and about 170 people are being sheltered, given a change
of clothing and fed during the ferocious weather. The Raymond Parkes
Shelter, a dwelling for homeless people has also been pressed into service
to cope with the people at risk. The police are assisting in the control of
people being allowed into the buildings.


Dangriga, further south of Belize City, has also been badly hit, but worst
hit of all was Cay Cacao, where only 10 houses are left standing on this
island community, still cut off at present. Waves 12 feet high are pounding
the island community and until outside assistance by plane or boat arrives,
no one will know the exact situation there.


Inland the Guatemalan authorities have opened the border around San Ignacio
to allow families to escape the fierce weather threatening their lives and
livelihood. Initial reports indicate Ambergrise Cay has severe to heavy
damage from hurricane Keith's impact yesterday. Cay Caulker Island residents
are in desperate need of food. Chetumal Bay, due to barometric pressure, is
completely devoid of water and residents of that area are urged to flee
before the tidewater returns, potentially devastating the area. Sand Creek,
near the Sittee River, is expected to flood soon, because of heavy rains.


The Salvation Army's regional commander and his forces will assist in
helping those worst hit by the hurricane once it is possible to do so. In
the meantime, they are providing shelter as needed to those driven out of
their homes.


Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) has been running an
Emergency Health and Welfare Network since the evening of Sunday, Oct. 1,
2000 in support of victims and responders to the Hurricane Keith Disaster
currently impacting the Yucatan Peninsula/Belize area. This network will
remain in operation until the emergency is over. Anyone needing information
regarding loved ones in the area should access the following URL. http://www.qso.com/satern. The information will be automatically forwarded
to a SATERN team headed by Quent Nelson processing via the Internet and HF
amateur radio talking to the affected area.


SATERN's operation began as a result of its relationship with the National
Hurricane Watch Net. This amateur network monitors and reports hurricane
disposition to the National Hurricane Center in Miami maintains a vigil and
alerts The Salvation Army when its services are needed. The National
Hurricane Watch Center is referring persons to The Salvation Army for Health
and Welfare assistance. SATERN has processed 120 inquiries since the
operation began. The SATERN operation continues to run its network 12 hours
per day, assisted by amateurs operating on battery power from the affected
area, and a host of other amateurs and amateur organizations in support of
it.


The Salvation Army is recognized for its international disaster
communications response by the community and by emergency entities for
incorporating its amateur radio network SATERN.