On October 1,2000 Hurricane Keith struck the town of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the largest and most populated
island off the coast of Belize. Actually, we are the southernmost tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. The storm, which was stationed over San Pedro for almost thirty-six hours, caused a lot of damage to the low lying areas along the lagoon side. Suburbs such as San Pedrito, San Pablo and San Juan were most affected by the hurricane. The town core or business center which consists of Barrier Reef Drive and Pescador Drive got minimal damage. the utility companies, however, did suffer a great deal. The telephone tower went down along with most of the electrical cables. Surprisingly. these companies are working faster than we thought they would and had restored electricity to Barrier Reef Drive two days after the storm. Telephones are working in most parts of the island and cellular service has been restored. You can even send and receive e-mail and also surf through the web. Clean potable water is now available to all areas as before.
Hotels in town such as Mayan Princess, Holiday Hotel and Spindrift Hotel are in operation along with some of the restaurants and bars. All other establishments should be in operation by Thanksgiving which falls on the third week of November. Due to a curfew imposed on the island, all businesses close at ten o"clock at night. There is no report of dengue or malaria and spraying for mosquitoes is being done frequently. Up to today, only two persons have been reported dead and two missing. Both incidents occurred at sea in Catamarans that did not make it to safe harbour. As you all know, in small communities like ours where everyone knows each other, we would know by now if there were more casaulties. I personally have not heard of anyone looking for a friend or relative. San Pedro is a well knit community that rejoices when there is a celebration, works together when the need arises, mourns toghether when there is a tragedy. today life in San Pedro is back to normal, everyone is happily working together to restore the island. Even the national media people were surprised and amazed to find our main streets were almost completely clean of debris when they arrived the day after the hurricane. We have always prided prided ourselves to being hardworking and taking care of our own. We appreciate the support and contributions we have received from our friends, families and organizations within Belize and abroad. To be honest, what we need the most help with is "financial aid" to recuperate faster. Fortunately, food is available and everyone has something to wear. The damages left by Keith cannot be compared to what Mitch did to Honduras. Ours is more cosmetic as stated by the San Pedro Sun. As Sampedranos, we are aware that only us, the residents of San Pedro, can make our island stand on its feet again.
If you are planning to visit us between now and a couple of weeks, pleae bear with us the inconveniences you may encounter. I can assure you if you are coming diving, snorkeling and or fishing, you will have a great time. The sea is crystal clear as ever and our coral reef is undamaged. Most of the beaches around the hotels are clean and most importantly our people did not lose their friendliness during or after the storm. Remember there is a curfew on the island so you will need to be in by 10:30p.m. And as I mentioned earlier, we should be back in full swing by Thanksgiving. Thank you for your support and prayers and come visit us soon. we will have your piña colada ready. I am sure there is someone out there somewhere humming "last night I dreamt of San Pedro".
Submitted by Amigo Travel-17/10/00.