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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials
The San Pedro Sun
International Costa Maya Festival Cancelled
The International Costa Maya Festival Committee hereby informs the general public that due to the damages caused by hurricane Earl, the Costa Maya Festival events previously scheduled for this week-end, has been cancelled. Based on the current conditions across the country of Belize and considering that Belizean families are now forced to address their personal matters with urgency, the festival cannot be entertained this weekend.
As a result the pageant delegates will leave Belize tomorrow to head back home and the Festival Committee has informed the international artists to hold off in travel due to the current conditions in Belize.
Belize foreign consulate to raise funds for hurricane victims
Hurricane Earl has caused much damage to many communities, businesses and homes across Belize. It is no doubt that help will be needed, and assistance is due to come from abroad.
The Belize Consulate in Miami Florida, USA has set up a ‘Gofundme’ account with the aim to raise monetary donations to assist Belizeans affected by the storm.
The initiative is being spearheaded not only by the Consulate in Florida, but also by the Embassy of Belize in Washington D.C and all of the Missions and Belize Consulates abroad.
According to Janine Sylvestre at the Belize Consulate in Miami, due to delay associated with collecting clothing and food items, they are instead asking for monetary donations. This is in order to speedily reach the people and areas needing the most critical help.
Hurricane Earl leaves a path of destruction on Ambergris Caye
Hurricane Earl has come and gone, and it has left a path of destruction along its path. In San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye, several homes were severely damaged, while along the beach many businesses and docks were partially or completely destroyed.
According to local authorities on Ambergris Caye, the preliminary damaged assessment shows significant structural damage and beach erosion. In the meantime, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) remains active as they complete their assessment, while residents who passed the storm at the respective shelters await to hear when they can return home. Furthermore the San Pedro Town Council has started cleaning up the island.
Power and water remain off. In a text message sent to customers at 8:22AM today, Belize Electricity Limited stated, “Belize Electricity Limited is assembling its team to prepare for assessments of the power system. Currently, only the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts have power supply. BEL will provide an update by 10am regarding its assessment plan.” No word has been issued by Belize Water Service Ltd as of yet.
During the hurricane two houses were reported to have collapsed by the San Mateo Area, while two fires were reported due to electrical outages/surges. No human loss or injuries have been reported.
Hurricane Earl Belize Victim Relief Set Up by Consulates of Belize in US
On behalf of the Embassy of Belize in Washington, DC and all of the Consulates of Belize in the United States of America, the Consulate of Belize in Florida has set up a GoFundMe account Hurricane Earl Belize Victim Relief to collect monetary donations in anticipation of the damage and loss experienced by our fellow Belizeans at home.
“Due to the usual delays associated with collecting clothing and food items, we are asking your help in gathering monetary donations in order to speedily reach the people and areas needing the most critical help,” requested the Consulate of Belize in Florida.
“If however you wish to simultaneously donate clothing, food and medical supplies you may contact your local salvation army for information on how to get your items to Belize since they have a very organized hurricane relief system in collecting supplies.”
Belize Declares ALL CLEAR from Hurricane Earl
As of 9:00 a.m. the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) declared the ALL CLEAR phase for the country of Belize as the storm continues to weaken while continuing on its tracks westward, away from Belize.
Although the ALL CLEAR Phase has been declared some squally conditions are still likely and seas will be rough. Therefore small craft warning remains in effect for offshore waters.
PRIORTY OF WORK: Search and Rescue, medical care, sheltering and looking after people affected, clearing of debris along the highways, restoration of utilities, inspection of airports and seaports.
NEMO with much concern acknowledges serious sufferings endured by thousands of Belizeans and the devastation of homes, businesses, government and private buildings. Major infrastructure and building damage, many roads and streets are blocked in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Belize City, and Ladyville, Belize River Valley, Orange Walk, Belmopan and other affected areas.
Misc Belizean Sources
Aug 4 - Aerial photos of Caye Caulker, including the "Split"
Photos by J. Zuniga
Riverside Benque by the Bus Terminal
Photos by Eleny Castellanos
Post Hurricane Earl Pics August 3-4, 2016
Morning has broken and all is well at my residence with the exception of some tree damage and finding my motorcycle flattened. Took a drive around town and some homes suffered water damage due to zinc roof lifting. Many trees were downed as well, some falling on structures and vehicles.
Disaster by Hurricane Earl
Photos by Ta-kneea Aguilera
Sugar barged into Baron's Bliss?
Barge hits sea wall?
Dangriga and Hope Creek Area rising Water
Water rising in San Ignacio
People try to save their produce and also wade thorough a drenched town.
Hurricane Earl Was Stronger Than Advertised
Hurricane Earl ripped through Belize last night into this morning - and today, thousands of Belizeans are recovering from major loss or damage to property, and a very traumatic night of being rattled by the storm.
Earl defied every prediction - when it's eye wobbled again just before landfall, and landed just south of Belize City. The strongest winds were north of that point, and so Belize city and Belize rural were hammered with winds said to be 75 to 80 miles per hour, but which felt like 90 to one hundred miles per hour.
NEMO Responds, But Don't Get Your Hopes Up
And while that's how the prime minister and the NEMO minister felt about the storm - how did those in poor housing situations feel about it? You'll hear form them shortly, but first to the issue of who do these needy people go to?
There are thousands of affected persons, in the Belize District, including SAN PEDRO and CAYE CAULKER as well as PARTS OF CAYO, STANN CREEK AND ORANGE WALK. INDEED Earl was a big storm that left a huge footprint of devastation on the country. But government does not have huge resources to meet everyone's needs. Today the PM was deliberate in not getting anyone's hopes up:
Here's Comes the Flood?
And while Earl left so many in need, there's another weather situation developing which could extend the footprint of loss even more. Today the Macal and Mopan rivers in the Cayo district started cresting, which suggests the strong possibility of flooding in the days to come. The Prime Minister discussed this today:...
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"In terms of the Macal River jumping its banks, in terms of the spillage already taking place at the dams, the forecast is that we are going to be dealing with extremely serious flooding with waters either I supposed coming down from the source in Guatemala, but inundating certainly possibly Belize City again and the river valley. So, Lord, we are preparing to have to deal with another natural disaster in maybe 5-7 days."
Some Parts Of Belize City Will Have 36 Hour Blackout
And while the prospect of flooding is on the event horizon, there are far more pressing matters at had tonight. Like for example, the largest population center in the country is under a blackout! That's right, though 7News and various media outlets are coming to you live from the city tonight - we are operating on generators because BEL has not restored power to the city. That's a 24 hour outage and counting - which raises all kinds of concerns about security, and just general life issues: like how does the largest population center in the country go for a day and a half without power. Today, BEL's CEO Jeffery Locke told the media why:,,,
Jeffrey Locke, CEO - BEL:
"For the most part the only two districts that were able to stay online were Corozal and Orange Walk. All other areas were affected. The good news is that we've been able to restore to Toledo, most of Dangriga, San Ignacio, Benque, Belmopan. The bad news is the areas most hit by the hurricane, Belize District and San Pedro and Caye Caulker - we have some work to do."
Earl Affected Tourist Interests on Caye Caulker/San Pedro
Tonight the news is all about Hurricane Earl - we'll show you how the storm itself looked, and you'll see the aftermath, but first we go to what the situation is now with the assessment of damages and the current prognosis. We start with the tourism sector - which has to deal with the short term, meaning its present guests, and the medium term, meaning how long will it take for tourism services to be fully restored. At today's press conference, Tourism Director Karen Bevans gave an outline:..
Karen Bevans, Director of Tourism:
"In looking at the preliminary assessment and our biggest tourism destination, San Pedro, we had significant damage when it comes to the piers and docking facilities. It is estimated so far that at least 90% of all piers and docking facilities have been destroyed. The dive shops that are on the piers were also destroyed. We have significant beach erosion and many fallen trees and debris. Fortunately the accommodations received minimal damages and we are hoping that coordination with them, working with the stakeholders, we can get the accommodations back in order as soon as next week.
Agriculture Damage Dire
The situation is even more dire in the agricultural sector where the losses span four districts, and they are substantial. CEO in that Ministry Jose Alpuche gave us the outline today:...
Jose Alpuche, CEO, Ministry of Agriculture:
"The areas most impacted are, as the prime minister mentioned, bananas, corn and vegetable production. In the banana industry, the initial assessment is that in South Stann Creek, approximately 75% losses, in the Cow Pen area 60%-70% losses, and Bladen & Swasey area at just about 60% losses. These losses can be categorized in 2 general production cycles, that is, those for harvest through the remainder of this year, and those for harvest next year. The losses are roughly about 50/50 in the 2 production cycles. The real issue that needs to be addressed beyond the fruit loss is a very critical one and that is to determine whether we have sufficient volume to maintain regular exports. This will need very careful study and discussion between the farmers and the marketers."
Minister Dr. Carla Barnett Will Help With Sourcing Recovery Funding
And to raise money for the recovery from those massive losses the Prime Minister has promoted one of his senators. Dr. Carla Barnett has been promoted to Minister of State in the PM's Ministry of Finance to spearhead this recover effort. The Prime Minister explained today:..
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:
"It will be absolutely critical for us to determine how much we are going to lose. I want at the end of the process for us to be able to say to the international community this is the volume of our losses. This is the percentage of GDP that it represents and on that basis of course we make our case for the kind of international partner relief that we will need. In that context let me announce right away that it is my intention to elevate Senator Hon. Dr. Carla Barnett to the position of Minister of State in the my ministry of finance and she will then be put in charge of leading the process that will produce that country economic damage assessment for purposes of our interaction with the international community."
Ladyville Took A Licking
As we told you earlier, Hurricane Earl made landfall south of Belize City, meaning that city residents and those in the central Belize District suffered the hardest blows. In fact, those living north of the city leading up to Ladyville may have been the hardest hit. Our news team went out this morning to capture the plight of these residents and the wreck on the road.
Hopeless and displaced, that is how many city and Ladyville residents are left after Hurricane Earl.
In the city, on Freetown Road, a zinc ROOF/COVERING flaps over the power cords like a worn curtain on a clothes line.
Daniel Ortiz, Stormchaser
So far on the news tonight we've told you all about the response to Hurricane Earl at the official level. But, what about the ground level? Well, you know 7News…we were out there last night, and this morning to see the storm and gauge the terrible aftermath. Daniel Ortiz has the report:...
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Just after our newscast, we set out just after 8 p.m. to take a tour around Belize City. Immediately outside of our office, the rain was already pouring down.
Across Swing Bridge, we found a homeless man under assault from the downpour, and out by Marine Parade, some 20 minutes later, the tropical storm force winds were evident in the trees.
Down by the hanger area, the thunderstorm was in overdrive, and try as we might, it kept covering the lens.
The Storm Highlighted Great Need
Of course, the story doesn’t end there, our news team of Daniel Ortiz and Codie Norales were out there all day today in the mud of Belize City looking for the stories of storm sufferers. Here’s what they found out:...
BTL Phone Service Being Affected By Extended Blackout
And, those frustrations could grow if the power doesn't come back soon. And that's because the phone service also needs power to operate. Yes they have backups - but as Executive Committee Chairman Anwar Barrow explained today, those are running down fast:..
Anwar Barrow, Chairman - BTL Executive Committee:
"Our big concern at this time is power, because we have been operating for almost 24 hours now in several sites that do not have power. This morning we had 7 out of 100 sites down. At 2pm this afternoon we have 11 out of 100 sites down. San Pedro is down in terms of voice, because we have microwave links, those are dishes on the towers that point there that have been misaligned in the storm. We expect by 6pm this evening to have those dishes realign. The riggers are on the towers right now doing that as we speak. For us as I said the biggest concern is power because a lot of the sites are running on generators or batteries and we expect that if power is not restored to many of those sites in the next 3 hours, that we will lose those sites. Particularly the ones on batteries. The main sites will stay up, because they are on generators and we are working around the clock to ensure that they do stay up. That is the current situation and we are working with BEL to ensure that the main nodes stay up and that they factor that into their prioritization schedule and so it's a wait and see game at this point."
Police will Keep City Safe Through Extended Power Outage
So, tonight power has been restored to downtown Belize City, but the rest of the city - with the exception of the KHMH area is heading into the second night of a super extended power outage. That puts more strain on the cops who still haven't quote recovered from last night. Today Southside Commander Chester Williams told us how his officer hope to avoid any opportunistic crimes:...
ACP Chester Williams, OC, Eastern Division South
"From the police standpoint operationally concern the fact that the restoration of power will not be in place until tomorrow and again I believe that it will affect mostly Southside Belize City. I just want to assure the residents of Belize City, Southside in particular that despite the fact that there will be no electricity, we'll continue to operate as normal in the sense that the police will be out there in full force to maintain law and order."
PM Praises Police
And today the Prime Minister had big praise for the job police did last night - responding to over one hundred distress calls:...
Earl Also Blew Over Belmopan
And while we showed you the havoc hurricane Earl wreaked on Belize City and Ladyville residents, how was it for people in the West? Well while those mammoth winds and hammering rains surely scared Belmopan residents, there was not as much damage or flooding in the area. As you can see of course, the extent of the damage was in yards, where trees fell, branches were flung about. In the San Martin, Salvapan area, people were out early this morning clearing up and moving the broken limbs from in front of their homes.
The View From Above
And tonight, we were hoping to have for you an extensive overview of the footprint of Hurricane Earl, but we were unable to download the files provided from a NEMO flyover of the storm affected areas. WE promise to have that for you tomorrow, as well as a broader picture of the storm's effect in the Central, North, West and South…
Mason Still In Jail
And in our last item tonight, we received word that accused murderer, and conman William Danny Mason escaped from the Belize Central Prison. It sounded farfetched to us since our information suggests that Mason is on lockdown in the most secure part of the prison facility.
Nevertheless, the reports persisted, and this evening, we spoke with Prison CEO Virgilio Murillo, and we asked him if indeed it was true. He told us that he has been receiving calls to this effect, but nothing could be further from the truth. He said that he saw Mason this evening, who was in his cell.
Murillo told us that he thinks that there is some mischief maker spreading this rumor around to cause a stir.