Tourism Industry hit: San Pedro Piers and Docking Facilities and Archaeological sites pummeled by Earl
According to 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. In talking with some of the stakeholders, the reports are, once the human resources and the utilities are back in order, operations will resume as normal.
In Belize City, we experienced similar damages when it comes to the piers and docking facilities. Two of our major resorts in Belize received some structural damages, namely the Radisson and the Ramada. The Biltmore is in good condition and operational at this time. When it comes to the airlifts, our airport is in good condition, no problems reported at the airport, no downtime, in fact the airport is now operational. The Fort Street Tourism Village, flooding and debris, cleaning up has commenced and that village should be ready on Tuesday for the next cruise ship arrival.
The archaeological sites, Lamani and Altun Ha received damages. The ATM and Barton Creek because of accessibility, no assessment done but we believed there are some damages in those areas as well. In the north and south, minimal damage reported so far, but we continue this afternoon our contact with the stake holders and more information will be made available as we continue our assessments."
From Caye Caulker.... A lot of the damage other than a few roof loses were confined to within 30 feet of the seashore. This is to be expected. Anyone who builds a dock or a shack on the beach should expect damage whenever there is a storm. It's natural. In the olden days people used to build on stilts. This allowed the water to flow underneath. Today I see lots of structures flat on the ground.
Where you planning a trip to Belize in the near future? This is a reminder to tourists to please check with the hotel you are planning on staying to make sure that they are fully operational in the aftermath of Hurricane Earl.
Day 2 after Hurricane Earl. Photos by San Pedro Sun
There are questions as to closure of the Roaring Creek Bridge. According to officials the bridge will not be closed this morning. Officials will keep monitoring the situation. An official advisory will be released in the event that the Bridge needs to be closed.
Maya Island Flight Operations Notice - August 5th, 2016
Maya Island Air takes this time to inform the general public that all flights across the Belize are now operating as per our regular, daily schedule.
During this time, we ask the our passengers bear with us as the cleaning and restoration process may still be taking place in several of our stations that experienced various forms of damage. Our team is doing its best to ensure that your flight experience during this time, is as convenient and comfortable as possible.
If you have any further questions or concerns at it relates to reservations,ticketing or cargo, kindly contact our agents at (011-501) 223-1140/ 223-1403/ 671-2190/ 672-2220 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience and consideration.
TROPIC AIR OFFERS DISCOUNTED TRAVEL TO AID IN HURRICANE RELIEF
Our hearts and thoughts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Earl earlier this week, including many of our own employees and those frequent flyers that we have come to know as family. We are saddened by all that was lost, but also grateful that there was no loss of life.
The task of rebuilding has already started in earnest, and we are eager to support this effort. With this is mind, we will be offering all domestic travellers 50% off flights through August 14th, 2016. All local flights are included except for those coming from, or going to, the Belize International Airport (BZE)
“We needed to do our part”, said John Greif III, President of Tropic Air. “Being part of every community in Belize, it was important to us that we make sure people can get where they need to go quickly in order to rebuild. When we fly to a community, we also become part of it, and being part of it, means becoming involved.”
The discount can be applied to travel booked online at tropicair.com using promotional code: D50AUG. Tickets can also be booked at any of our stations or via our reservations department at 226-2012/2626 or email@example.com
The San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi will be operating from the back bridge for right now. If this changes, we will let you know right away. Please come to the back bridge for our regularly scheduled service. Thank you.
The Belize Zoo survived the passing of Hurricane Earl, but not without significant damage to trees and vegetation. Our animals are all safe, and exhibits held up well. We are closed to the public until Monday August 8th as we undertake our extensive cleanup campaign. A big thanks to all our concerned friends and well wishers. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts
Agriculture suffers tremendous loss to Earl
According to 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. this is a very substantial point, because it means that even those that are still producing a perfectly good product may not be able to export but let us see how that goes, it requires much more careful study and discussion with the marketers and producers.
Corn has been severely impacted, especially in the central region, Spanish Lookout alone reporting losses of 75,000 tons or approximately 42 million Belize dollars in losses. In Indian creek, losses for corn is another 7 and a half million. Little Belize reports moderate impact and we still have other major growers to survey. As you know, corn is also a small farmer staple and we expect that wherever damage occurred, and corn is present, the losses are also severe.
Vegetable production, which is an important income earner for many small farmers have also been severely impacted. The minister's area, the Maskall Bomba, producers almost lost everything. Similarly in the Springfield and Armenia, the damages are almost total. We still have Valley of Peace and other vegetable communities in the Cayo and Orange Walk districts to survey. An important program promoting covered structure for vegetable production has been severely impacted with virtually all structured being compromised or completely destroyed.
The infrastructure losses to small farmers will amount to well over 2 million dollars, and that's only the infrastructure, we are not talking about the value of the product. The fisheries sector, we are estimating roughly a half a million dollars in losses to assets, but this does not include the losses from production stock. You are aware that we are in the middle of the lobster season which is our highest price commodity. The poultry sector lost barns and a few birds, that does not seem too severe at this point in time, but we need closer assessment. Sugar, Santander reports some flooding of field and some minor damage to infrastructure. The northern sugar industry is reporting approximately 7,000 acres of stand over cane with wind damage and potential water damage based on how long the water remains."
Carla Barnett appointed to Minister of State to Find Post Hurricane Funds
According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"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."
BEL Continues to Restore Power to the Remainder of the Country
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) continues to restore power supply to the country since the passage of Hurricane Earl. Restoration efforts resumed promptly at dawn today, primarily in the Belize District, where the Company’s infrastructure sustained the most damage.
As of 9:00 a.m. today, approximately 75% of all customers have been restored. However, in the Belize District, only 20% of customers have power supply. BEL crews are now focusing on completing restoration of power, by the end of today, to most of Belize City up to Mile 4 on the Philip Goldson Highway, portions of Ladyville and nearby areas.
Works will continue into Saturday to restore the remainder of the Belize District, as those areas require extensive works. This includes from Mile 8 to 31 on the George Price Highway, Mile 4 to Mile 35 on the Philip Goldson Highway, the Old Northern Highway, Burrell Boom and the Belize River Valley.
BEL advises customers to expect intermittent power interruptions, which may be necessary during the process of reconnecting other customers.
BEL teams working to restore power supply following passage of Hurricane Earl.
Santa Rita, Cerro Maya, Lim Li Punit and Lubaantun Ope
All other Archaeological Reserves and cave sites remail closed until further notice...
Belize Water Services informs its customers in Belmopan that there is an ongoing interruption in their water supply today Friday, August 5, 2016.
This interruption is due to no electricity. Customers may experience low water pressure and/or discoloration in their water supply when water is restored. The areas being affected are Lomas de las Flores, portion of Camalote and Teakettle.
BWS continues to work diligently to restore water supply. BWS thanks you for your kind cooperation as we recover from this natural disaster.
The Swing Bridge will also be swung at 3:00 pm today.
Good afternoon, the San Pedro Belize Express would like to announce that the Chetumal Run will be resuming on August 8. Please share this around facebook for me. If you have any questions, please call the main office at 223-2225. Our phone is not working and we are now providing service from the back bridge on Caye Caulker with the normal schedule. You can find the schedule online at www.belizewatertaxi.com If I am not available to immediately answer your questions, please forgive me because we are working especially hard to keep normal operations at this trying time and to provide safe service to all of our customers.
I'm a part of NEMO's Damage and Assessment Team in Caye Caulker and this is the way I assisted them.
My family and i evacuated our home just right before the hurricane made landfall. We went to shelter way out front on the main of the island, so after Earl was all gone, i had access to take all these pics. I didnt even check on my home yet caz we heard it was not accessible. However, after a couple hours, we were able to go home. But the entire area was flooded and we were only able to pass bcaz my golf cart is high. Others with lower carts couldnt get back there. Being that there was no electricity at our home at the time, we had no access to leave and go anywhere since the water was still high and we had already sighted Crocodiles swimming around. It wasnt safe to walk in that water! So we had no choice, but to ask for assistance with some food and water. Thanks to amazing friends and family, we got what we needed!!
photos by Suzie Q Blease
BEL Completes Phase One of Restoration Works
At 2:00 p.m. today, approximately 80% of the country has been restored with power supply, as Belize Electricity (BEL) continues to work diligently to repair damages caused by Hurricane Earl.
Over the past 30 hours, critical facilities such as the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, water pumping stations, communication systems, airports and major commercial areas have been restored with power supply.
Priority is now being placed on completing restoration in high risk areas of Belize City and Ladyville tonight and tomorrow. The Belize District continues to require the highest level of restorative efforts and the Company expects to complete restoration to the remaining areas by the end of the weekend.
BEL thanks customers for their continued patience during this time.
These were some images sent by Geoffrey Segura showing how high the water came when Hurricane Earl visited. Images are of the downtown Welcome Center, the area where the new bridge is under construction, The Hawkesworth Bridge. Thanks Geoffrey.
Back in business just like that! Way to go Holiday Hotel, we love ya!
The owner and staff of Holiday Hotel would like to thank everyone that helped in the cleanup yesterday. We are heartbroken at all the loss our community suffered from Hurricane Earl, but as many have said, we are a strong and resilient community.
We still have a long way to go, but here's an update of our progress.
The hotel, restaurant, bar and Celi's deli are all open at regular business hours.
Thanks again for all the support!
Click photos for more pictures
Ministry of Health Hurricane Earl Public Advisory
Belmopan, August 5, 2016. The Ministry of Health can report at this time that all our Community and Regional hospitals and Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have resumed regular services, and were able to maintain exceptional functioning operations to the public during the passage of Hurricane Earl with minimal disruption.
After the past couple of days of rains, many residents have been experiencing flooding in their areas. The flooding may have contaminated their drinking water leaving it unsafe to drink and requiring treatment in order for it to be potable. We are liaising with BWS to ensure this matter is addressed.
In order to avoid becoming ill, all households whose drinking water may be affected are asked to treat their water to make it safe by:
1. Adding 1 tablespoon of Clorox to five gallons of water, mix completely and leave to stand for 30 minutes before using. DO NOT use bleach that have perfumes.
2. Boiling water at a rolling boil for one minute.
3. Adding water purification tablets according to directions on the package.
4. Reporting any leaks in pipe lines to Belize Water Services.
It is also highly recommended that for persons in the rural areas that experienced flooding and use well water to also treat their drinking water as it may not be safe to drink. Water that is dark, has an odor, or has floating pieces SHOULD NOT be used and should be disinfected.
The public is advised that the Ministry of Health continues to monitor the flooding situation to ensure all persons remain safe during this time of emergency.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin is grateful to the health staff who worked in and around the health facilities before, during and immediately after the emergency to ensure as little interruption as possible as we continue to provide service to the public.
For More information, please contact your nearest health facility, the Ministry of Health at 822-2325, 822-0809 or our hotline number if necessary at 629-5604.
Coastal Devastation on Ambergris Caye by Hurricane Earl, Islanders Rebuild
As day broke on Ambergris Caye, Belize, on Thursday, August 4, 2016, on the aftermath of Hurricane Earl slamming into the country, it was evident that the majority of the devastation on the island was concentrated on the coastline. It is estimated so far that at least 90% of all piers and docking facilities have been destroyed. Every single pier on the island is either partially damage, significantly destroyed or completely wiped out. A major impact is that to the tourism sector as most dive shops that were situated on piers have been completely destroyed.
Massive piles of rubble and debris from these piers accumulated on the beach; an unbelievable site as residents headed to the shoreline to assess the damage by the storm. As the initial shock wore off though, island residents immediately commenced cleanup efforts. The entire day was spent assessing the damages and commencement of cleaning up. There is no question that the island will rebuild.
Ambergris Caye is down, but not out. Power has been restored to half of the island and the power company is expecting to have the entire island entirely back on the grid by today or early Saturday, August 6. Only a handful of homes/structures suffered damages on Ambergris Caye and businesses are working diligently to open shop and get the island running back to normal. Other parts of the island experienced minimal impact with a lot of fallen trees and some downed power lines and damages light posts. There is significant erosion of the beaches, although some areas can boast new widened beaches.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today
Thanks to Rosita Rosado for sending us images of some of the damges in Caye Caulker
Click photos for more pictures
Thanks to Lupi Guerra for sending us images of Iguana Creek and San Ignacio.
Click photos for more pictures
NICH has released a statement detailing damages sustained by the nation's historic and archeological sites as a result of Hurricane Earl.
NICH and the Ministry of Culture are reporting that the storm affected several archaeological sites and NICH buildings. Altun Ha and Lamanai are closed for clean up of fallen trees and other debris. The boat dock used for Lamanai is damaged.
Caves Branch is closed. NICH assessment teams have not be able to reach Xunantunich because of the swollen river. Caracol is inaccessible due to parts of the road being impassable. Flooding at the ATM Cave and other cave sites have forced a temporary closure
For the archaeological sites themselves, Dr. John Morris, the Director of the Institute of Archaeology, say the preserved, ancient Mayan temples at these sites can be damaged by wind and rain. The Museum of Belize had 4 inches of water and silt. The Bliss Center for the Performing Arts had extensive interior damage for water, silt, mud, broken glass windows, and roof damage.
Hurricane Earl leaves trail of destruction countrywide
Hurricane Earl made landfall in the early hours of Thursday, August 4th on the northern portion of the country. San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye was devastated, as the category 1 hurricane wiped out entire docks and buildings on the eastern coast of the island. In other parts of town, trees were uprooted, power lines fell, rooftops blown away and several homes in the low lying areas completely flooded or destroyed.
The catastrophic impact of the storm was quite unexpected for a category 1 hurricane. However, according to locals who have studied the weather patterns, the almost direct hit on the island and the amount of surges created by the strong winds blowing from the north made for a powerful combination. Several residents had to be rescued during the storm as their homes collapsed, while over the water businesses and docks literally disappeared. Fortunately there were no injuries or human lives were lost.
The San Pedro Town Council has also been busy organizing the clean ups in all corners of the island and along its beaches. Mayor Daniel Guerrero, along with NEMO, EOC and Area Representative Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr, have opened the communication channels with Central Government and other agencies countrywide. Both the Mayor and the Area Representative are ready to assist as soon as the damage assessment is complete.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also issued a press release advising the general public how to treat sources of drinking water. It is recommended that 1 tablespoon of Clorox should be added to five gallons of water, mix completely and leave to stand for 30 minutes before using. The use of perfumed bleach is strongly discouraged. Another advice is to bring water to a boiling point for a minute. Other ways to make the water potable is by adding water purification tablets according to directions on the package. The ministry also advised any leaks in pipe lines should be reported to Belize Water Services.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) hereby informs the general public that flood waters are swelling the river banks and people living in the following villages must continue to take immediate flood response actions:
Areas of concern are: Cayo District - Arenal; Succothz; Calla Creek; La Clarissa; Siete Millas; Barton Creek; San Marcos; Billy White; Central Farm; Buena Vista; Providencien; Ramonal; Paslow Falls, Bullet Tree Falls; Santa Familia, Branch Mouth, villages along the George Price Highway, Roaring Creek and More Tomorrow.Belize River Valley - Crooked Tree, St. Paul’s Bank; Willows Bank; Rancho Doleres; Double Head Cabbage; Bermudian Landing; Isabela Bank; Flowers Bank; May Pen; Scotland half-moon;Burrel Boom; Lord’s Bank; Ladyville; Bomba, Maskall, St. Anns; Santana; Lucky Strike; Rockstone Pond and Boston.
People living in La Democracia; coastal highway community; Gales Point; Mullins River; Gracie Rock; Hattieville; Freetown Sibun, and Butcher Burns are advised to take note of this advisory.
Farmers with livestock MUST take the necessary actions and seek safety and move them to higher grounds. The flood waters likely to rise and spread fast.
People living in these flood prone areas are being strongly encouraged to seek safety and move to higher grounds to protect life. Seek shelter with families or friends or go to a community shelter. MOVE OUT of areas that are likely to flood.
Road conditions: Spanish lookout via Baking Pot Ferry and Iguana Creek Bridge are impassable at this time.
*The access route through Bullet Tree Falls village via the Bullet Tree Bridge is impassable. *The Roaring Creek Bridge remains open. * The wooden bridge in San Ignacio across the Macal River is closed.
Do not: cross flood waters, especially at night. NEMO river monitors will be monitoring and reporting the different river levels.
NEMO remains vigilant and will be monitoring the flooding situation. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while navigating in the territorial waters of Belize. The Authority is currently working on restoring all Aids to Navigation in the channels which shifted due to Hurricane Earl.
NEMO ADVISORY 2 FLOOD SITUATION IN BELIZE
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) hereby informs the general public that flood waters are swelling the river banks and people living in the following villages must continue to take immediate flood response actions: Areas of concern are:
Cayo District - Arenal; Succothz; Calla Creek; La Clarissa; Siete Millas; Barton Creek; San Marcos; Billy White; Central Farm; Buena Vista; Providencien; Ramonal; Paslow Falls, Bullet Tree Falls; Santa Familia, Branch Mouth, villages along the George Price Highway, Roaring Creek and More Tomorrow.
Belize River Valley - Crooked Tree, St. Paul’s Bank; Willows Bank; Rancho Doleres; Double Head Cabbage; Bermudian Landing; Isabela Bank; Flowers Bank; May Pen; Scotland half-moon; Burrel Boom; Lord’s Bank; Ladyville; Bomba, Maskall, St. Anns; Santana; Lucky Strike; Rockstone Pond and Boston.
People living in La Democracia; coastal highway community; Gales Point; Mullins River; Gracie Rock; Hattieville; Freetown Sibun, and Butcher Burns are advised to take note of this advisory.
Farmers with livestock MUST take the necessary actions and seek safety and move them to higher grounds. The flood waters likely to rise and spread fast. People living in these flood prone areas are being strongly encouraged to seek safety and move to higher grounds to protect life. Seek shelter with families or friends or go to a community shelter. MOVE OUT of areas that are likely to flood.
Road conditions: Spanish lookout via Baking Pot Ferry and Iguana Creek Bridge are impassable at this time. The access route through Bullet Tree Falls village via the Bullet Tree Bridge is impassable. The Roaring Creek Bridge remains open. . Just and questionable if it will stay open or close later. The wooden bridge in San Ignacio across the Macal River is closed.
Do not: cross flood waters, especially at night. NEMO river monitors will be monitoring and reporting the different river levels. NEMO remains vigilant and will be monitoring the flooding situation. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while navigating in the territorial waters of Belize. The Authority is currently working on restoring all Aids to Navigation in the channels which shifted due to Hurricane Earl.