The Aftermath of the Succotz Flash Flood
Yesterday morning, relentless rains caused the Mopan river to swell and triggered a pre - dawn flash flood in the village of San Jose Succotz. Hundreds of residents were affected and lost household property such as mattresses, furniture, and even car engines.
Today, NEMO went in with relief. Cherisse Halsall has more on the flood and the aftermath.
It was a vivid and unforgettable image, a tearful pastor and his wife in the grips of loss and incomprehension, as chest high flood waters ripped through their house in the predawn darkness.
And the day after, it's hard to believe that this is the same yard. The Pastor's son painted a picture of his parent's ordeal.
Helmut Vasquez, Flood Victim
"Last night it was terrible. The water was at least up to here. It's the third time that this happened. It was flooded all the way into the bedrooms, the kitchen, restroom - the bed was under water, sofas, stove, freezer - everything was under water."
"The last time it got flooded we couldn't accomplish anything with the neighbor and the wall. My dad decided that it would be a good idea to put this wall to prevent the water from coming in. In this case this time it didn't help in anything. The water just flows right on top and flooded the house."
NEMO says Flash floods affected 400 residents of Benque Viejo town and Succotz village. In the aftermath Area rep Erwin Contreras was on the ground making assessments.
Ministers and Mayor react to flash flood.wmv
Hon. Erwin Contreras, Area Representative
"It is a creek, we maybe have to remove some people from here and try to give them new lot for them to constructs, because if not this thing will persist, so I think we have to look at a long term plan for them so that we can better their way of living."
Hon. Edmund Castro, Minister of NEMO
"NEMO, we are out here along with area representative Hon. Erwin Contreras, along with the mayor and other NEMo representatives, to assist those people with some support such as mattress, stoves, gas tanks, disinfectants and so, so that they can clean up back their areas so they could try and get back their lives as quickly as possible. This are will be retrofitted similar to that of Roaring Creek and Teakettle and so on. So I don't think we will have a problem sooner or later once the reconstruction get to this point. The elevation in this area shouldn't affect people the way it affect them now with the water rushing over the road. That will get eliminated, but we also need to look at the zoning for those people who live in the path of the creek - move out of the path of the creek so that they will never be affective again."
And while the assistance is very much appreciated for the hundreds of residents who have endured multiple floods from a temperamental Mopan river cleaning up after these flash floods is just an exercise in a cycle of despair
Helmut Vasquez, Flood Victim
"We have spoken to the past mayor Mr. Rancharan, the current mayor Mr. Sosa, NEMO has been here a couple of times and we try to get involve with the law, but we try to get a lawyer to help us, but that really didn't go anywhere. So at this point we are stuck with this problem."
The highway in one flood prone area is designated for paving - and it will be outfitted with large, flood - ready culverts like those that have been installed along the George Price Highway near Roaring Creek.
And, one more note on this story. In last night's news, we reported that the Vaca Dam had to be opened, and that's what caused the flood. We are now satisfied that this information - which we got from villagers - was innacurate. BECOL has confirmed that the VACA dam was not opened, and that because it was not opened, it actually held back the flow of water.
So, we retract the statement that the flood was caused or contributed to by the opening of the Vaca dam. We apologize for the reputational damaged caused by our story.