Rising Flood Waters Inundate Hope Creek
A flood warning remains in effect tonight for Belize as the residual moisture from tropical depression 16 continues to dump record rainfall. All the rivers in the south, most notably the Sittee, are at flood stage and rising. Last night rising waters forced 46 residents in Hope Creek to flee their homes at 1 am, fortunately those waters did not go very high. But the memory of Arthur’s flash flood is still fresh and most of those residents remain in a shelter tonight and the village is on edge. We were in Hope Creek today and Keith Swift has the story of how folks are coping.Keith Swift Reporting,
If Candida Jimenez looks hopeless, that is because right now she is. This morning she took us into her home which has been inundated by flood waters. Jimenez says her home has been submerged since 2 this morning.Candida Jimenez, Affected by Flood waters“Whole night I didn’t sleep because I knew we would get in the water so I didn’t sleep.”Keith Swift,
And right now your house is under water.Candida Jimenez,“Yes the water is still in my house.”Keith Swift,
What has been damaged?Candida Jimenez,“Well everything I put up, I put everything. Whole night I didn’t sleep, we just sat down on the edge of the bed.” Keith Swift,
Some other people were evacuated why didn’t you leave?Candida Jimenez,“I didn’t go, I didn’t go. I said because it is already one o’clock or two o’clock in the morning so I said to stay in my house until the morning.”Keith Swift,
Are these floods costing you money?Candida Jimenez,“Yes because everything gets wet every year. Sometimes four or five times for the year I am in the water like duck, in the water like duck.”
And while Candida refused to go to a shelter, 8 other families – including this little girl with cerebral palsy fled to the ITVET shelter around 1 this morning.
Lorenza Trejo, Shelter Manager“Last night here at about 1:30 and we didn’t have many as much as we had this morning. Right now we have about 8 families but earlier we had about 46 people. So later on this evening I think we will have more because most of the people went home because they had to do their cooking because this morning nobody brought nothing prepared so most of them went home.”
Many of the people evacuated in the middle of night, that includes the Pineda family.Maria Pineda, Affected by Flood water“Yes we came out of the house after somebody told us the flood di come.”
And it did come, Maria’s yard is still under water. Inside the house is dry now but was under water earlier this morning. Maria and her husband Nicholas had to stack their mattresses and other valuables in their ceiling to protect them from the flood waters.Nicholas Pineda, Affected by flood water“Well everything we had on the ground we had to put at the top because we have to try save what we could save. This morning they came to holler for us at about two o’clock, Red Cross came to take us out from here.”Keith Swift,
Your house inside is wet?Nicholas Pineda,“Everything.”
Erlinda Diego hasn’t left her home and doesn’t plan to leave – at least not yet.
Erlinda Diego, Hope Creek Resident“Right now I am just watching and see what happens before I think about come out because sometimes when you are out there they treat you bad so I am waiting for the time to say it is time to go.”Keith Swift,
How has the water entered your house?Erlinda Diego,“So far no, we are just watching the weather. We didn’t sleep so that we could move around because of the children and so that we have.”Keith Swift,
What was your experience with Arthur?Erlinda Diego,“The last time was very sad, it was very sad. This time I just hope it doesn’t come the same way.”
And while Erlinda Diego has her fingers crossed and is hoping for the best, her neighbour Carmen Castellanos isn’t.
Carmen Castellanos, Evacuee“The water was raising last night and we had to come out and right now we need lot of help because check out the CET school, go in there and you will see the situation of that CET school, it is stink. Right now we need a lot of help because right now look at the flood right now. Right now with the houses, the Minister said they will build houses for the people and they are not building houses for the people – they are building houses for special people. We the people who don’t have no lot or nothing aren’t getting anything.
Where we live already has water, last night it was already on the first step so that is why we are leaving our house because we know what we went through and we don’t want to go through that again.”
And that’s because flooding has become a way of life in hope creek.Nicholas Pineda,“We expect yes because it is just like this it came the first time, water in the day and in night when we were sleeping we didn’t pay attention to it and then it came up. We can’t put nothing in our yard, not even the vehicle.”Keith Swift,
You say that every year the flooding happens, why not just move?Candida Jimenez,“I can’t move because it is here I live, this is my house and I don’t have no one to help me raise my house. I am a single lady, only me, my daughter, and my son.”Maria Pineda,“I am tired of this condition and Miss Candida too. Every time the water goes into the house and we have to move the things every time. I don’t have patience again.”
Reporting for 7NEWS from Hope Creek, Keith Swift.The residents at the IT-VET shelter did eventually get food and water.http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=12410