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Re: Remembering: Hurricane Hattie 50 Years Ago [Re: Marty] #518747
11/05/16 05:40 AM
11/05/16 05:40 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Comments & Photos on Hurricane Hattie

I was in high school and my experience of that hurricane was horrible. Time and space are insufficient right now to fully describe the experience. But all I can say is that I never want to go through another one like Hurricane Hattie. Am certain that all of us who lived through it have a story. For those who perished may their soul continue to rest in peace and for us who survived we say thank God.

I went through that storm. Was 16 and the water destroyed almost everything. Houses,cars you see vats roll down the street. We survived.

Weathered Hurricane on the second floor of then Paslow building. remembered that scene well with the Swing Bridge dislocated from its moorings.

Our late Mayor David Fonseca once told me that he lived on Ovaltine for months after the storm. If I recall, the reported storm surge was 13 feet.

we was at CBA on the canal side near prince street it was terrible don't want to ever experience one like that.i was in Corozal for Janet it wasn't too bad like Hattie

I loss two brothers and two sisters in Hurricane Hattie . My parents had recently moved from Honduras . My Dad Norval Mejia , the only son of Caroline Neal of Mullins River had just returned home to his mom and family with his family to reside and barely a year after the terrible disaster occurred. God is so good in that he gave them back four children, and I am the first of that 2nd set . Two of my brothers were saved out of the six children . It is still sad to think of what my parents went through .

I was 5 yrs old living in gallonjug I remember that hurricane..

We were saved in the Paslow Building that is no longer there.

Of all the pictures of the hurricane that I have seen, the ones I think best tell the story of the hurricane (and good for analysis) are as follows:

1. A woman washing clothes in the midst of the devastation (the cover photo of the Mennonite John Friesen's book on the hurricane). This photo highlighted the resilience of the people of the city.

2. First Minister and Mayor of Belize City George Price conferring with Fred Westby at Foreshore. This photo highlighted the role local government played in the relief and recovery effort.

3. The orderly line for food rations outside of the marketing board on North Front Street. This photo again highlighted the role of local government in the relief and recovery effort. It also showed how a natural disaster such as the hurricane often become a social leveler in that rich and poor, the known and not so known were all in that line waiting for rations.

4. British soldiers fixed bayonets patrolling the streets of downtown Belize City. Their presence highlighted the fact that local government was unable to restore law and order in the city in the aftermath of the hurricane. However, local government was not criticized for the way in which they prepared for the hurricane and their response to the crisis. The presence of the British soldiers also served as a remainder of the colonial status of British Honduras.

5. The arrival of aid from abroad at Stanley field Airport. The Guatemalans were first to respond. The Mexicans also responded early, but regrettably one of their planes crashed in northern Belize, Then the Americans came by sea and air ahead of the British). Then the British came via Jamaica.

6. The burning of bodies at Lord Ridge Cemetery. It wasn't until I think 2005 that a plaque was placed at the mass grave where the victims of Hattie were buried.

There are many pictures of the devastation of Belize City, but regrettably few of the devastation of then Stann Creek Town, Mullins River (and other southern coastal villages), and Caye Caulker.

! I too was 8 years old [turned 9 that Dec], when Hattie devastated Belize. My family's home on Dickinson Street was washed out to sea along with homes of many of our neighbors in that area! I remember my Mom told me that when she went to see the area, that once she got to the old cemetery, that she was able to see clear out to the sea as many of the homes were destroyed! I will never forget!

I was in Jamaica, but my wife got saved at Technical building on Freetown Road - second floor. Her house on Kelly Street dropped flat on the ground.

I was 5 yrs old my mom took off her sweater and put it on me to stay warm mothers love . I remember the helicopters flying over head

I was 8 years old at the time and spent this hurricane upstairs of the Children's Library (Turton Building) on North Front Street.

Around Eyre Street

One newpaper's account of Hurricane Hattie

Entrance of Handyside Street. 960 Handy side St. where I grew up. This is by Queen St. That's the Cocom house at 37 Handyside Street. The water rose and covered the veranda but did not enter the house which was one step up from d veranda. Neighbors whose homes were destroyed sheltered there with the family.

That's the Swing Bridge, in Belize City, British Honduras, underwater during Hurricane Hattie. This picture was taken from Paslow. The force of the tidal surge turned the bridge, so we know that it was not a gradual tide, it came with a force. This picture must have been taken during eye because everything seem calm. It was this same tidal surge that broke a fuel tank from it moorings on the North side a little further up on the left of this picture that crashed into the Presbyterian Church (one of the churches made from bricks) and erased one of the two remaining we had. The only one remaining is St. John's Cathedral.

These photos of Hurricane Hattie tell a story of what Belize was and what Hattie did to change our Belizean scenery. Click photos for larger versions.

In this picture there is the massive destruction of the Holy Redeemer Parish Hall, - Belize City Market, - Shore Shore, and by bridge foot.

MORE AND MORE DAMAGES ON BELIZE CITY BY HATTIE - Hence the reason why the building of Belmopan which was already PLANNED from 1960, was accelerated.

Click on above four photos to see larger versions of them...

Last edited by Marty; 09/24/18 05:23 AM.
Re: Remembering: Hurricane Hattie 50 Years Ago [Re: Marty] #518755
11/05/16 04:54 PM
11/05/16 04:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 459
Greenville, SC USA
larrypied Offline
larrypied  Offline
Great read. Sad story.

Re: Remembering: Hurricane Hattie 50 Years Ago [Re: Marty] #526741
10/31/17 06:20 AM
10/31/17 06:20 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 59,291
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

OCTOBER 30th OCTOBER 1961. at 4.20 .P.M.


These were the words of Mr Eustace Usher, as he passed us in haste while we stood by the Treasury Building on a beautiful clear and sunny evening. He was going to Radio Belize, at the " Albert Cattouse Building " to give the FLASH ADVISORY.

I can recall my friends who stood bye in awe.

Hon. Louis Sylvester, German Williams, Controller of Customs J.J. Rabateau and friend Ebelio Noble.

AS SOON AS THE RADIO made the announcement, the sirene at the Paslow Building began to BLOW THE WARNING BLAIR. and Belize City went crazy.

The gas stations were saturated with customers, and the few Hard Ware Stores still opened, were rushed by people buying, Ply Wood, Nails, Zink, Hammers, and the shops selling food items, batteries, medicines, etc. ( there was no bottled water in those days )

THE BOARDING OF BUILDINGS began in a rush. The few schools and public buildings assigned as Shelters were immediately opened.

I WENT HOME and told my In Laws and my wife that we would have to leave immediately, because the warnings were SEVERE.

SO at 11:20 PM (NIGHT we loaded with whatever, and we headed to San Ignacio, where I served as the Mayor of the Town.

IT WAS VERY ROUGH GOING. telephone poles, and a few branches of Pine trees were already falling on the Road.

THE JOURNEY WAS BUMPER TO BUMPER with hundreds of vehicles.

It took me 4 hours to reach San Ignacio. I reached at 3.25 AM.

I accomodated my family with my five babies in my room, at the Maya Hotel, and I began my duties as Mayor.

THE IMAGE OF THE MACAL RIVER running UP STREAM, will forever remain in my mind. ( never seen before )

BY 9.00 AM most of the Commercial Center was under flood.

The current that hit town DUG OUT the Old Slaughter House area and created the Belize Beach.

( I leave you all with this sad memory, left by Hurricane Hattie, 56 years ago.

( The following is a picture taken from the Hawkesworth Bridge, when the river began to raise at a RAPID PACE. )

The floods of 1961 as seen by the Hawkesworth Bridge - as it began to raise.

Oct 31, 1961 Hurricane Hattie in Belize City, before the water receded.

Rare old footage of Hurricane Hattie after destroying Belize.

Lots of people went unaccounted. BTL, BWSL & people digging foundation's drains regularly reported finding skeletal remains of humans.

Re: Remembering: Hurricane Hattie 50 Years Ago [Re: Marty] #526744
10/31/17 06:31 AM
10/31/17 06:31 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,009
San Pedro AC Belize
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
So many have frightening tales of this mammoth storm. So grateful that we have satellites today to give us a slightly better chance of taking proper measures and finding shelter. Still, weather can do the unthinkable ........ River running upstream?!! Yikes. That is a long uphill run.

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