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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
Hurricane Earl leaves trail of destruction countrywide
The island is currently recovering from the aftermath of the hurricane and a few victims continue at the shelters. According to Timrose Augustine, NEMO Coordinator on Ambergris Caye, they will remain at the shelters until they can be provided with a stable and safe place to live. “We will be providing warm meals to the affected persons who are at the shelters who have lost everything to Hurricane Earl,” said Augustin. She stated that NEMO has been busy assessing the damages and upon its completion, assistance will be provided evenly to the affected residents.
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.
Aquafino Island Resort & Spa raises funds for charities
On the evening of Saturday, July 30th, Aquafino Island Resort & Spa was host to a fundraiser fashion show, featuring the International Costa Maya pageant contestants and current title holder, Miss Honduras Gabriela Vanessa Salazar Valle. Part of the show involved their National Costume competition, but of course, there was some fun too, as they modeled outfits from Top Notch boutique.
A silent auction, as well as bar proceeds were to be divided to help out three different entities: the San Pedro Police Department, The San Pedro Rotary Club and The Inspiration Center. Providing music was the inimitable DJ Dzl, and food came via Pirate’s Treasure, Hidden Treasure and Caroline’s Cookin’. Guests enjoyed a wonderful evening on the deck, taking in a breathtaking sunset and even more fabulous fashion show!
Tropic Air offers discounted travel to aid in hurricane relief
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).
Belize Barrier Reef to celebrate 20 years as World Heritage Site
December of this year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) being inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tittle was awarded in 1996, as the BBRRS is the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region, representing the second longest reef system in the world. To celebrate this momentous achievement, Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize Program (WCS) and a number of conservation stakeholders have organized a variety of activities. This year’s anniversary celebrations are being held under the theme “The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System: supporting our economy through health biodiversity”. While the theme has already been selected, the logo for the celebrations is up for a design competition. Everyone is encouraged to submit their entries and be a part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of our reef system.
Clean up campaign tackles Elliot subdivision
According to the SPTC, since the launch of the initiative in June, the support from the local community has been very positive. Deputy Mayor Gary Greif Councilor who is in charge of garbage collection is impressed with the results so far. “It was incredible to see the amount of garbage removed from these two divisions. With the help of all the volunteers, we have been able to do a good job so far, especially in the San Pedrito area,” said Greif. Last week, the campaign continued in the Elliot/Airstrip area which is one of the smallest on the island. The different organizations on the island that support the project, such as the police station, fire station, the Ministry of Health, and the SPTC, had volunteers along with residents sweeping and raking the area. Residents were glad to see the local authorities involved in an activity that aims for a healthier and cleaner community. “We are happy with this initiative and it serves as a motivation for us to continue this practice. Even though we may be too busy at our jobs and lives, it is important to keep our surroundings clean,” said a resident of the Elliot/Airstrip Subdivision.
GOB makes changes to Cabinet
On Monday, August 1st, the Cabinet of the Government of Belize (GOB) underwent an urgent reshuffling. In a press release issued on the same day, Prime Minister Dean Barrow officially announced and explained the necessity for the changes, particularly in the Ministry of National Security, due to recent corruption scandals. The other changes also gave way to the naming of a new Senator solely for the police department, and the assigning of a new minister for the portfolio of Natural Resources.
The decision to rearrange the Cabinet began brewing from Friday, July 29th, after Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s arrival from the United States. It was not made clear then, but everyone was expecting such action by Central Government given the fact that one of their key Cabinet Ministers had apparently been associating with accused murdered and international con-artist William Mason.
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.
Costa Maya Festival Cancelled after Hurricane Earl
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 today 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. The Costa Maya Festival Committee regrets the inconvenience caused by this situation but must be cognizant of the situation faced by Belizeans following the damages caused by hurricane Earl.
Misc Belizean Sources
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)
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."
The Belize Zoo after Earl
The 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.
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.
Here's a look at Government House from Thursday
We are working to remove the debris... Full restoration of the grounds will have to wait until there is less saturation of the soil. Due to the passage of Hurricane Earl, please be advised that Government House - House of Culture will will closed until further notice.
We appreciate your patience as we try to address damages to the building and grounds
Museum of Belize cleans up after Hurricane Earl
Our friends at Museum of Belize continue the hard work of cleaning up for a second day.
Bliss Center after Earl
Earl who? The hurricane made it's mark on Bliss Center for Performing Arts, but the team there rolled up its sleeves and got to work.
THIS is the spirit of Caye Caulker!
Before & After. Hurricane Earl left its mark here on Caye Caulker Wednesday night... The front of the Island took the worst of it. Everyone has been working together to tidy up & make our island as beautiful as it was before. For us it meant we lost our base & office, but fortunately our boats are fine & tours will be running again from tomorrow! (Saturday) Ragga Caye sustained little damage. Our Captains & Guides are ready again! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations while we work to get our office back up & running! Thank you all for your kind messages & thoughts!
Santa Rita, Cerro Maya, Lim Li Punit and Lubaantun Open
All other Archaeological Reserves and cave sites remail closed until further notice...
Images from the rising waters in Sarawee
by Allyson Ally Mclaughlyn
Ministry of Health
Public Advisory No. 2
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.
Thanks to Rosita Rosado for sending us images of some of the damges in Caye Caulker
Thanks to Lupi Guerra for sending us images of Iguana Creek and San Ignacio
NICH has released a statement detailing damages sustained by the nation's historic and archeological sites as a result of Hurricane Earl
Update from Belize Bird Rescue
Well time to draw breath. Almost all birdies accounted for - we may have lost a few chickens. :-(
We did lose a LOT of trees including many of our fruit supply trees - some trees down on aviaries and fences. Lost a freezer full of supplies too. So.. yesterday - the morning after the hurricane - we were assessing the damage and clearing up when we noticed a flood on the field in an unusual place. The flood got very rapidly bigger and suddenly - we couldn't believe it - the river was running right through our property! In a few short hours we went to from high and dry to 5 feet under water all over. We managed to rescue a lot of chickens, vehicles, empty most of our rental house, and get equipment to dry ground. We lost our trusty old tractor: it finally conked out in the flood. I don't think there's any way to resuscitate it this time. :-( We are still trying to keep everyone fed and secure while assessing what we have lost and starting on the clear up. Thankfully the barn and field aviaries were already evacuated before the hurricane. It could have been worse for sure. Thanks so much everyone for the good wishes. We will rebuild!
Both a frightening and heartwarming story all at once...
5 minutes after waking up to a call from my aunt who was asking if i was okay, i had to return that call retracting my previous statement. 10 minutes later I called back telling them that water was filling up the entire house quickly. In a matter of 15 minutes i was knee deep in water and by 12:45, i was sitting on the highest point in my house crying on the phone with about 2 feet left of air space. My aunts, mom and sister were calling at intervals trying to find a way to get me out the house. I started flashing my light through the window and saw someone flashing back. I heard a yelling outside from a distance and i climbed down from where I was and swam to the window. My neighbor was yelling and asked if i was okay and if i could get out. I came out the room and went to the side door. I knew what was going to happen next, I'd either be knocked out by the door or the water would rush in and drown me.
Paradise Theater this weekend
Due to Recent events.. The theater will be closed this weekend. We'll be continuing with movies next weekend as per usual .. Both of the projectors are being upgraded to bigger and better machines, providing a much better and higher quality experience .. we'll be taking this time to perform maintenance on the building and and the letter sign that got blown apart .. keep and eye for for the movies next week!!
After Earl: Scary Storm Stories From San Pedro
The country of Belize is still recovering from Hurricane Earl. The strong and large Category 1 storm left thousands of Belizeans with huge cleanup and housing problems and generated millions of dollars in damages. For many, life will take months to return to normal, and for some, "normal" may never return - or if it does, it will come with a huge bill.
Indeed Earl wreaked all kinds of havoc in the Belize District including SAN PEDRO, and CAYE CAULKER as well as PARTS OF CAYO, STANN CREEK AND ORANGE WALK.
Today we went to san Pedro - which was the first large community to feel the force of the hurricane. With the help of imagery courtesy the San Pedro Town Council and photographer Jorge Aldana, Daniel Ortiz reports:...
San Pedro, like the other parts of the country hardest hit, was on Day 2 of the journey to recovery.
San Pedro Belize Express Not Ferrying Passengers To Cayes
Now we went out to San Pedro on a Tropic Air flight - but most people can't afford that - even though, Tropic Air today announced a very generous 50% discount on all domestic flights as a post hurricane relief goodwill gesture to passengers.
But even at 50% off, a round trip ticket to San Pedro is still over one hundred dollars. That's why for mass transport, most people turn to the water taxi service - but the Island piers on both San Pedro And Caye Caulker for both major ferry services were destroyed by Earl.
Ocean Ferry has found another pier on San Pedro, but San Pedro Belize Express hasn't. A company rep says they are being railroaded and not being allowed to use a replacement pier they selected. The company says it had to turn away hundreds of customers today - mostly folks returning to their homes in the islands from relatives or shelters inland. On both san Pedro and Caye Caulker, the water taxi service claims their captains have been threatened with arrest if they continue to land at alternate piers. The company says that on San Pedro the municipal authorities are trying to force them to use the pier at the International Terminal at the back of the island.
48 Hours: Almost Half Of Belize District Residents Still Without Power
And while water taxi commuters have that problem - almost half of the Belize District is still under a blackout - and going into 48 hours without power! At 6:00 pm, BEL reports that power has been restored in 47% of the Belize District and 84% of the country.
BEL says that since the all clear, critical facilities such as the KHMH, water pumping stations, communication systems, airports and major commercial areas have been restored with power supply.
The company is now focusing on completing restoration in what are called high risk areas of Belize City and Ladyville tonight and tomorrow. They say that 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."
City Cleanup Requires Unprecedented Effort
Now, the story of the storm and the mass terror it produced in the Belize district when houses started shaking and roofs starts coming loose is one thing, but the cleanup is the real story right now. For the past two days, City residents have been cleaning their homes and offices from a thick grey sludge that washed in with the storm surge. It's ugly and smelly stuff, and it destroyed items in hundreds of homes. Now that residents and workers have cleaned their homes and offices, the city council has to clean the streets. Today the Mayor told us the effort is intensifying this weekend:..
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor:
"What we have determined to do generally speaking, is that we've divided the city into 3 areas if you will, the area from Central American Blvd and beyond that, then the area from central American Blvd unto the Caribbean sea and then the North side. We have been given additional support, tomorrow we'll have personnel from the forestry department who will assist us in cutting down some of the larger trees so that we can shorten the amount of debris that we have to move out of our way, then we will cart those away. We've also been getting significant support from the BDF in terms of personnel."
Post Storm Flooding Threatens West, North
And while the cleanup is one very important thing after the storm, another is the rising waters in the west. As we told you yesterday the Macal and Mopan rivers were spilling over their banks which is captured in this aerial footage.
There were fears today that it would spill over the Roaring Creek Bridge - but police and the Ministry of Works today confirmed that it was receding just a few feet below the deck and the bridge was not closed.
The latest NEMO advisory issued just a few minutes ago, says that 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 wooden bridge in San Ignacio across the Macal River is closed.
Earl Lashed Ladyville And Vista Del Mar
Now where was really "Ground Zero" for Hurricane Earl? We don't mean where the eye hit…that was somewhere south of Belize City; we mean: where were the hardest winds and rains concentrated? Most folks - especially those in the Belize District - would, understandably say, "MY BACK YARD!" And there's certainly truth in that: after all, unless you went through Hattie in 1961 - Belize District residents have never experienced anything like Earl.
And while every storm survivor has his or her own story of a very scary storm, the evidence of serious storm-related damage seems most concentrated in Vista Del Mar and LAdyville. I went to that area today where residents told me what it was like:...
Looking at these yards, it might seem like these Vista Del Mar residents were having a community yard sale Or were getting rid of old mattresses and other junk. But they were definitely not selling or giving away anything today, all these clothes and appliances were their most cherished belongings that they are now trying to salvage. Hurricane Earl hit these residents hard, most people lost everything.
15 Year Old Girl Suffered Multiple Molestations, Including One and Possibly Two By Lawmen
In a very, very disturbing case, a trio of Belmopan men - including a special constable - have been charged for the rape of a 15 year old girl.
On Tuesday, the day before Hurricane Earl, Belmopan police arrested a special constable named Addisson Gillett for the rape and aggravated assault of a 15 year old girl. They are using the charge rape because the girl is 15 and he allegedly used a gun to force her into the act. Gillett was remanded.
Two other men, are also accusing of having sex with the underaged minor on other occasions: Police charged the stepfather and the uncle - whose names we cannot release because it could lead to her identity.
Cop On Cop Crime - but No Criminal Charges?
7News has received information of a case of cop on cop crime - and the suggestion of an attempt to cover it up - or at least spare the offender from facing criminal charges. According to credible reports, a complaint has been made against Corporal Jamir Cassanova, assigned to the Mobile Interdiction Team. Constable Derwin Mariano made a complaint that the corporal beat him up - so badly that he get a medico legal form which confirmed his injuries as wounding. The beat down allegedly took place in a drinking session at MIT Headquarters at the Police Training School. But we are told that the senior ranks of the MIT are pushing to have only it only treated as an internal disciplinary matter. Now, we know the constable has requested court action, and based on our knowledge how Belmopan Police operate we would expect those criminal charges to be brought. We'll keep following up the case.
Wilder In Jail
But there was no question of whether police should charge Wilder Vasquez. He's a known burglar in the capital and police used fingerprint evidence to link him to a case of theft. He was charged and based on the strength of the fingerprint evidence he was convicted and received 7 year sentence today in Belmopan Magistrate's Court.
Police reportedly have more fingerprint evidence to link him to another break in - and he will be brought form prison next week to face that charge.
Belize City, Another Look
And so far tonight we've shown you the aftermath of the storm in San Pedro and in Vista Del Mar Ladyville. But, right here in our home base of Belize City there was a lot to capture. We showed you some of that last night, and tonight we have more stuff that we captured right after the storm before the clean up crews swept in. Here's what it looked like:...
Jules Vasquez reporting:
Belize City streets looked like a calm river after the storm. Fallen lampposts were a regular sight and here between Ferrel's Lane and Albert Street pickups had to pick the shallowest channel no one would be playing basketball on this day and the streets looked like they needed a cleanup.
And now, in the aftermath of the storm there are so many thousands in need - those who lost their homes or suffered major storm damage. They now have to go about - you could say - finding NEMO - since the Prime Minister made it clear that politicians will not be directly distributing relief. Yesterday NEMO's director explained that they must come up with a mechanism:...
"Main thing for NEMO at this stage is to ensure that the people who are affected in the area that we considered to be the ground zero, the Belize District, people in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, people out in parts of Cayo, Stann Creek and Orange Walk - those are the areas that we will be focusing on to make sure that they are assessments that are done and the aid and assistance that people need reaches to those individuals. So in essence, that's the focus that NEMO will be doing over the next couple of days and perhaps weeks."
Ministry of Health Says It is Back In Action
And while NEMO hopes to respond quickly, the Ministry of Health says it is doing just that: The Ministry of Health is reporting tonight that All Community Regional Hospitals, and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospitals have started to resume regular services. They were able to maintain an exceptional level of operations during the passage of Hurricane Earl over the country.
The Ministry of Health is warning that with the impending floods after the rains, the drinking water may have been contaminated, making it unsafe to drink. The Ministry says that it is liaising with the Belize Water Services to ensure that the drinking water can be treated.
The Ministry says that you can treat your own water by adding a tablespoon of Clorox to every 5 gallons of water from your drinking source. Do not use bleach that have perfumes. Boil the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Add purification tablets according to directions on the packaging.
NICH Reports Storm Related Site Closures
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.
The View From Above
And as we close tonight we leave you with the view from above - provided to us by the Government Press Office which went for a post storm over flight of affected areas with NEMO, and by Panoramic Image Productions, a drone outfit in Cayo which captured the Macal river running over its banks in Cayo on Thursday.
As we go into the weekend flooding remains a factor and this evening NEMO sent an advisory warning villager sin the Cayo District and the Belize river Valley to be very vigilant this weekend. The advisory says, quote, "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."